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^16'f^. "So 




HARVARD 

COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




J. W. von GOETHE'S WORKS 



THE SORROWS OF YOUNG 

WERTHER 
ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Ottiius ravourili wMk • • ■ :l ' s x ' , -"' , * 

Ph..tt;j»iavu!-- ir-.i:. .. pi.iii'i'i-: ! / •■ •-' 



1 . <■ 




B 




i. W. yom GPETHEfe? WORKS- '/' 

THE SORROWS OF 
YOUNG WERTHER 
ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

TRANSLATED BY 

R. D. BOYLAN 



WITH FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS 



LONDON 
JOHN C. N I M M O, Ltd. 

14 KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND 
MDCCCCIII 



Preface 

I have carefully collected whatever I have been 
able to learn of the story of poor Werther, and here 
present it to you, knowing that you will thank me for 
it. To his spirit and character you cannot refuse your 
admiration and love: to his fate you will not deny 
your tears. 

And thou, good soul, who sufferest the same distress 
as he endured once, draw comfort from his sorrows ; 
and let this little book be thy friend, if, owing to 
fortune or through thine own fault, thou canst not 
find a dearer companion. 



t/7sr*-30&§, 



I 



H A n VARD 

UNIVERSHY 

LIBRARY 




List of Illustrations 

PAGE 
"OtTILIE'S FAVOURITE WALK . . . WAS ALONG A 

pleasant footpath" (See page 376) . Frontispiece 
"i have since sketched her profile" ... 41 
"Sue was plating upon her piano" ... 97 
"The chart . . . was brought and spread out" 195 
"She sank down upon her knees" • . • 412 



WStt-W&j 



UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 







List of Illustrations 



"OtTILIE'S FAVOURITE WALK . . . WAS ALONG A 

pleasant footpath" (See page 376) . Frontispiece 
" i hays since sketched her profile " . .41 

"slir was playing upon her piano " ... 97 
** the chart . . . wa8 brought and spread out " 195 
"She sank down upon her knees" . . • 412 



^^^^mm 



The Sorrows of Young Werther 



The 
Sorrows of Young Werther 



BOOK I 

Mat 4. 

How happy I am that I am gone ! My dear friend, 
what a thing is the heart of jnan ! To leave you, from 
whom I have been inseparable, whom I love so dearly, 
and yet to feel happy ! I know you will forgive me. 
Have not other attachments been specially appointed 
by fate to torment a head like mine ? Poor Leonora ! 
and yet I was not to blame. Was it my fault, that, 
whilst the peculiar charms of her sister afforded me 
an agreeable entertainment, a passion for me was en- 
gendered in her feeble heart ? And yet am I wholly 
blameless ? Did I not encourage her emotions ? Did 
I not feel charmed at those truly genuine expressions 
of nature, which, though but little mirthful in reality, 
so often amused us ? Did I not — but oh ! what is man, 
that he dares so to accuse himself ? My dear friend, 
I promise you I will improve ; I will no longer, as has 
ever been my habit, continue to ruminate on every 
petty vexation which fortune may dispense; I will 
enjoy the present, and the past shall be for me the 
past. No doubt you are right, my best of friends, 
there would be far less suffering amongst mankind, if 
men — and God knows why they are so fashioned — 
did not employ their imaginations so assiduously in 

3 



^^^^^Bl 


■ 







SORROWS OF WERTHER 






recalling the memory of past sorrow, instead or bearing 
their present lot with equanimity. 

Be kind enough to inform my mother that I shall 
attend to her business to the best of my ability, and 
shall give her the earliest information about it* I 
have seen my aunt, and find that she is very far from 
being the disagreeable person our Mends allege her to 
be. She is a lively, cheerful woman, with the best of 
hearts. I explained to her my mother's wrongs with 
regard to that part of her portion which has been with- 
held from her. She told me the motives and reasons of 
her own conduct, and the terms on which she is willing 
to give up the whole, and to do more than we have 
asked In short, I cannot write further upon this 
subject at present ; only assure my mother that all 
will go on well And I have again observed, my dear 
friend, in this trifling affair, that misunderstandings 
and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than 
even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two 
latter are of less frequent occurrence. 

In other respects I am very well off here. Solitude 
in this terrestrial paradise is a genial balm to my mind, 
and the young spring cheers with its bounteous promises 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 5 

I already shed to the memory of its departed master 
in a summer-house which is now reduced to ruins, but 
was his favourite resort, and now is mine. I shall soon 
be master of the place. The gardener has become at- 
tached to me within the last few days, and he will 
lose nothing thereby. 

Mat 10. 

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my 
entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which 
I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel 
the charm of existence in this spot, which was created 
for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my 
dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere 
tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should 
be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present 
moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater 
artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems 
with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes 
the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my 
trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner 
sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass 
by the trickling stream ; and, as I lie close to the earth, 
a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me : when 
I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, 
and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms 
of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the 
Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the 
breath of that universal love which bears and sustains 
us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss ; and 
then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, 
and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and 
absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, 
— then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could 
describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper 
all that is living so full and warm within me, that it 
might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the 



6 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

mirror of the infinite God ! my friend — but it is 
too much for my strength — I sink under the weight 
of the splendour of these visions I 

Mat 12. 
I know not whether some deceitful spirits haunt 
this spot, or whether it l)e the warm, celestial fancy 
in my own heart which makes everything around me 
seem like paradise. In front of the house is a foun- 
tain, — a fountain to which I am bound by a charm 
like Melusina and her sisters. Descending a gentle 
slope, you coine to an arch, where, some twenty steps 
lower down, water of the clearest crystal gushes from 
the marble rock The narrow wall which encloses it 
above, the tall trees which encircle the spot, and the 
coolness of the place itself, — everything imparts a 
pleasant but sublime impression. Not a day passes 
on which I do not spend an hour there. The young 
maidens come from the town to fetch water, — inno- 
cent and necessary employment, and formerly the 
occupation of the daughters of kings. As I take my 
rest there, the idea of the old patriarchal life is awak- 
ened around me. I see them, our old ancestors, how 
they formed their friendships and contracted alliances 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 7 

fever of my blood ; and you have never witnessed any- 
thing so unsteady, so uncertain, as my heart. But 
need I confess this to you, my dear friend, who have 
so often endured the anguish of witnessing my sudden 
transitions from sorrow to immoderate joy, and from 
sweet melancholy to violent passions? I treat my 
poor heart like a sick child, and gratify its every fancy. 
Do not mention this again : there are people who would 
censure me for it. 

Mat 15. 

The common people of the place know me already, 
and love me, particularly the children. When at first 
I associated with them, and inquired in a friendly tone 
about their various trifles, some fancied that I wished 
to ridicule them, and turned from me in exceeding ill- 
humour. I did not allow that circumstance to grieve 
me : I only felt most keenly what I have often before 
observed. Persons who can claim a certain rank keep 
themselves coldly aloof from the common people, as 
though they feared to lose their importance by the 
contact; whilst wanton idlers, and such as are prone 
to bad joking, affect to descend to their level, only to 
make the poor people feel their impertinence all the 
more keenly. 

I know very well that we are not all equal, nor can 
be so; but it is my opinion that he who avoids the 
common people, in order not to lose their respect, is as 
much to blame as a coward who hides himself from his 
enemy because he fears defeat. 

The other day I went to the fountain, and found a 
young servant-girl, who had set her pitcher on the 
lowest step, and looked around to see if one of her 
companions was approaching to place it on her head. 
I ran down, and looked at her. " Shall I help you, 
pretty lass ? " said L She blushed deeply. « Oh, sir ! " 
she exclaimed. " No ceremony ! " I replied. She ad- 



8 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

justed her head-gear, and I helped her* She thanked 
me, and ascended the steps. 

Mat 17. 

I have made all sorts of acquaintances, but have as 
yet found no society. I know not what attraction I 
possess for the people, so many of them like me, and 
attach themselves to me ; and then I feel sorry when 
the road we pursue together goes only a short distance. 
If you inquire what the people are like here, I must 
answer, " The same as everywhere ." The human race 
is but a monotonous affair. Most of them labour the 
greater part of their time for mere subsistence ; and 
the scanty portion of freedom which remains to them 
so troubles them that they use every exertion to get 
rid of it. Oh, the destiny of man ! 

But they are a right good sort of people. If I occa- 
sionally forget myself, and take part in the innocent 
pleasures which are not yet forbidden to the peas- 
antry, and enjoy myself, for instance, with genuine free- 
dom and sincerity, round a well-covered table, or 
arrange an excursion or a dance opportunely, and so 
forth, all this produces a good effect upon my disposi- 
tion ; only I must forget that there lie dormant within 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 9 

not display, to its full extent, that mysterious feeling 
with which my heart embraces nature? Was not our 
intercourse a perpetual web of the finest emotions, of 
the keenest wit, the varieties of which, even in their 
very eccentricity, bore the stamp of genius? Alas I 
the few years by which she was my senior brought her 
to the grave before ma Never can I forget her firm 
mind or her heavenly patience. 

A few days ago I met a certain young V , a 

frank, open fellow, with a most pleasing countenance. 
He has just left the university, does not deem himself 
overwise, but believes he knows more than other 
people. He has worked hard, as I can perceive from 
many circumstances, and, in short, possesses a large 
stock of information. When he heard that I am draw- 
ing a good deal, and that I know Greek (two wonder- 
ful things for this part of the country), he came to see 
me, and displayed his whole store of learning, from Bat- 
teaux to Wood, from De Piles to Winkelmann : he as- 
sured me he had read through the first part of Sultzer's 
theory, and also possessed a manuscript of Heyne's 
work on the study of the antique. I allowed it all to 
pass. 

I have become acquainted, also, with a very worthy 
person, the district judge, a frank and open-hearted 
man. I am told it is a most delightful thing to see 
him in the midst of his children, of whom he has nine. 
His eldest daughter especially is highly spoken of. He 
has invited me to go and see him, and I intend to do 
so on the first opportunity. He lives at one of the 
royal hunting-lodges, which can be reached from here 
in an hour and a half by walking, and which he 
obtained leave to inhabit after the loss of his wife, 
as it is so painful to him to reside in town and at the 
court. 

There have also come in my way a few other origi- 
nals of a questionable sort, who are in all respects un- 




io SORROWS OF WERT HER 

desirable, and moat intolerable in their demonstrations 
of friendship. Good-bye. This letter will please you : 
it is quite historical. 

Mat 22, 
That the life of man is but a dream, many a man hag 
surmised heretofore; and I, too, am everywhere pur- 
sued by this feeling, When I consider the narrow 
limits within which our active and inquiring faculties 
are confined ; when I see how all our energies are 
wasted in providing for mere necessities, which again 
have no further end than to prolong a wretched exist- 
ence; and then that all our satisfaction concerning 
certain subjects of investigation ends in nothing better 
than a passive resignation, whilst we amuse ourselves 
painting our prison- walls with bright figures and brilliant 
landscapes, — when I consider all this, Wilheim, I am 
silent I examine my own being, and find there a 
world, but a world rather of imagination and dim 
desires, than of distinctness and living power. Then 
everything swims before my senses, and I smile and 
dream while pursuing my way through the world* 

All learned professors and doctors are agreed that chil- 
dren do not comprehend the cause of their desires; 




SORROWS OF WERTHER n 

ingp ; but others also are objects of envy, who dignify 
their paltry employments, and sometimes even their 
passions, with pompous titles, representing them to 
mankind as gigantic achievements performed for their 
welfare and glory. But the man who humbly ac- 
knowledges the vanity of all this, who observes with 
what pleasure the thriving citizen converts his little 
garden into a paradise, and how patiently even the 
poor man pursues his weary way under his burden, 
and how all wish equally to behold the light of the sun 
a little longer, — yes, such a man is at peace, and 
creates his own . world within himself ; and he is also 
happy, because he is a man. And then, however 
limited his sphere, he still preserves in his bosom the 
sweet feeling of liberty, and knows that he can quit his 
prison whenever he likes. 

Mat 26. 

You know of old my ways of settling anywhere, of 
selecting a little cottage in some cosy spot, and of 
putting up in it with every inconvenience. Here, too, 
I have discovered such a snug, comfortable place, which 
possesses peculiar charms for me. 

About a league from the town is a place called Wal- 
heim. 1 It is delightfully situated on the side of a hill ; 
and, by proceeding along one of the footpaths which 
lead out of the village, you can have a view of the 
whole valley. A good old woman lives there, 
who keeps a small inn. She sells wine, beer, and 
coffee, and is cheerful and pleasant notwithstanding 
her age. The chief charm of this spot consists in two 
linden-trees, spreading their enormous branches over 
the little green before the church, which is entirely sur- 
rounded by peasants' cottages, barns, and homesteads. 

1 The reader need not take the trouble to look for the place thus 
designated. We have found it necessary to change the names 
given in the original. 



12 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



I have seldom seen a place so retired and peaceable ; and 
there often have my table and chair brought out from 
the little inn, and drink my coffee there, and read my 
Homer, Accident brought me to the spot one fine 
afternoon, and I found it perfectly deserted. Every- 
body was in the fields except a little boy about four 
years of age, who was sitting on the ground, and held 
between his knees a child about six months old; he 
pressed it to his bosom with both arms, which thus 
formed a sort of arm-chair; and, notwithstanding the 
liveliness which sparkled in its black eyes, it remained 
perfectly stilL The sight charmed me. I sat down 
upon a plough opposite, and sketched with great delight 
this little picture of brotherly tenderness. I added the 
neighbouring hedge, the barn-door, and some broken 
cart-wheels, just as they happened to lie; and I found 
in about an hour that I bad made a very correct and 
interesting drawing, without putting in the slightest 
thing of my own* This confirmed me in my resolution 
of adhering, for the future, entirely to nature. She 
alone is inexhaustible, and capable of forming the 
greatest masters. Much may be alleged in favour of 
rules, as much may be likewise advanced in favour of 
the laws of society : an artist formed upon them will 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 13 

comes a man of the world, a man of place and respect- 
ability, and addresses him thus: "My good young 
friend, love is natural; but you must love within 
bounds. Divide your time : devote a portion to busi- 
ness, and give the hours of recreation to your mistress. 
Calculate your fortune ; and out of the superfluity you 
may make her a present, only not too often, — on her 
birthday, and such occasions." Pursuing this advice, 
he may become a useful member of society, and I 
should advise every prince to give him an appointment ; 
but it is all up with his love, and with his genius if he 
be an artist. O my friend ! why is it that the torrent 
of genius so seldom bursts forth, so seldom rolls in full- 
flowing stream, overwhelming your astounded soul? 
Because, on either side of this stream, cold and respect- 
able persons have taken up their abodes, and, forsooth, 
their summer-houses and tulip-beds would suffer from 
the torrent ; wherefore they dig trenches, and raise em- 
bankments betimes, in order to avert the impending 
danger. 

May 27. 
I find I have fallen into raptures, declamation, and 
similes, and have forgotten, in consequence, to tell you 
what became of the children. Absorbed in my artistic 
contemplations, which I briefly described in my letter 
of yesterday, I continued sitting on the plough for two 
hours. Toward evening a young woman, with a basket 
on her arm, came running toward the children, who 
had not moved all that time. She exclaimed from a 
distance, " You are a good boy, Philip ! " She gave me 
greeting : I returned it, rose, and approached her. I 
inquired if she were the mother of those pretty chil- 
dren. " Yes," she said ; and, giving the eldest a piece 
of bread, she took the little one in her arms and kissed 
it with a mother's tenderness. "I left my child in 
Philip's care," she said, " whilst I went into the town 



M 



SORROWS OF WERT HER 



with my eldest boy to buy some wheaten bread, some 
sugar, and an earthen pot." I saw the various articles 
in the basket, from which the cover had fallen, *■ I 
shall make some broth to-night for my little Hans 
(which was the name of the youngest) : that wild fel- 
low, the big one, broke my pot yesterday, whilst he 
was scrambling with Philip for what remained of the 
contents." I inquired for the eldest; and she had 
scarcely time to tell me that he was driving a couple 
of geese home from the meadow, when he ran up, and 
handed Philip an osier-twig, I talked a little longer 
with the woman, and found that she was the daughter 
of the school master > and that her husband was gone on a 
journey into Switzerland for some money a relation had 
left him, " They wanted to cheat him/'tshe said, " and 
would not answer his letters ; so he is gone there him- 
self. I hope he has met with no accident, as I have 
beard nothing of him since his departure*" I left the 
woman with regret, giving each of the children a 
kreutzer, with an additional one for the youngest, to 
buy some wheaten bread for his broth when she went 
to town next ; and so we parted, 

I assure you, my dear friend, when my thoughts are 
all in tumult, the sight of such a creature as this tran- 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 15 

and I am particularly amused with observing their 
tempers, and the simplicity of their behaviour, when 
some of the other village children are assembled with 
them. 

It has given me a deal of trouble to satisfy the 
anxiety of the mother, lest (as she says) " they should 
inconvenience the gentleman." 

Mat 80. 

What I have lately said of painting is equally true 
with respect to poetry. It is only necessary for us to 
know what is really excellent, and venture to give it 
expression; and that is saying much in few words. 
Tchday I have had a scene, which, if literally related, 
would make the most beautiful idyl in the world. But 
why should I talk of poetry and scenes and idyls? 
Can we never take pleasure in nature without having 
recourse to art? 

If you expect anything grand or magnificent from 
this introduction, you will be sadly mistaken. It re- 
lates merely to a peasant-lad, who has excited in me 
the warmest interest. As usual, I shall tell my story 
badly ; and you, as usual, will think me extravagant. 
It is Walheim once more — always Walheim — which 
produces these wonderful phenomena. 

A party had assembled outside the house under the 
linden-trees, to drink coffee. The company did not 
exactly please me ; and, under one pretext or another, 
I lingered behind. 

A peasant came from an adjoining house, and set to 
work arranging some part of the same plough which I 
had lately sketched. His appearance pleased me ; and 
I spoke to him, inquired about his circumstances, made 
his acquaintance, and, as is my wont with persons of 
that class, was soon admitted into his confidence. He 
said he was in the service of a young widow, who set 
great store by him. He spoke so much of his mistress, 






i6 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



and praised her so extravagantly, that I could soon see 
he was desperately in love with her " She is no longer 
young," he said : " and she was treated so badly by her 
former husband that she does not mean to many 
again." From his account it was so evident what 
incomparable charms she possessed for him, and how 
ardently he wished she would select him to extinguish 
the recollection of her first husband's misconduct, that 
I should have to repeat his own words in order to 
describe the depth of the poor fellow's attachment, 
truth, and devotion. It would, in fact, require the 
gifts of a great poet to convey the expression of his 
features, the harmony of his voice, and the heavenly 
fire of his eye No words can portray the tenderness 
of hia every movement and of every feature : no effort 
of mine could do justice to the scene. His alarm lest 
I should misconceive his position with regard to his 
mistress, or question the propriety of her conduct, 
touched me particularly. The charming manner with 
which he described her form and person, which, with- 
out possessing the graces of youth, won and attached 
him to her, is inexpressible, and must be left to the 
imagination. I have never in my life witnessed or 
fancied or conceived the possibility of such intense 




SORROWS OF WERTHBR 17 

Junk 16. 

* Why do I not write to you ? " You lay claim to 
learning, and ask such a question. Tou should have 
guessed that I am well — that is to say — in a word, I 
have made an acquaintance who has won my heart: 
I have — I know not 

To give you a regular account of the manner in which 
I have become acquainted with the most amiable of 
women would be a difficult task. I am a happy and 
contented mortal, but a poor historian. 

An angel t Nonsense t Everybody so describes his 
mistress ; and yet I find it impossible to tell you how 
perfect she is, or why she is so perfect : suffice it to 
say she has captivated all my senses. 

So much simplicity with so much understanding — 
so mild, and yet so resolute — a mind so placid, and a 
life so active. 

But all this is ugly balderdash, which expresses not 
a single character nor feature. Some other time — but 
no, not some other time, now, this very instant, will I 
tell you all about it. Now or never. Well, between 
ourselves, since I commenced my letter, I have been 
three times on the point of throwing down my pen, of 
ordering my horse, and riding out. And yet I vowed 
this morning that I would not ride to-day, and yet 
every moment I am rushing to the window to see how 
high the sun is. 

I could not restrain myself — go to her I must. I 
have just returned, Wilhelm ; and whilst I am taking 
supper I will write to you. What a delight it was for 
my sbul to see her in the midst of her dear, beautiful 
children, — eight brothers and sisters ! 

But, if I proceed thus, you will be no wiser at the 
end of my letter than you were at the beginning. 
Attend, then, and I will compel myself to give you the 
details. 



i8 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



I mentioned to you the other day that I had hecome 

acquainted with S- , the district judge, and that he 

had^ invited me to go and visit him in his retirement, 
or rather in his little kingdom. But I neglected going, 
and perhaps should never have gone, if chance had not 
discovered to me the treasure which lay concealed in 
that retired spot. Some of our young people had pro- 
posed giving a hall in the country, at which I consented 
to he present. I offered my hand for the evening to a 
pretty and agreeable, but rather commonplace, sort of 
girl from the immediate neighbourhood ; and it was 
agreed that I should engage a carriage, and call upon 
Charlotte, with my partner and her aunt, to convey 
them to the ball. My companion informed me, as we 
drove along through the park to the hunting-lodge, that 
I should make the acquaintance of a very charming 
young lady. " Take care," added the aunt, " that you 
do not lose your heart * " Why ? " said L " Because 
she is already engaged to a very worthy man/ 1 she 
replied, * who is gone to settle his affairs upon the 
death of his father, and will succeed to a very con- 
siderable inheritance." This information possessed no 
interest for ma When we arrived at the gate, the sun 
setting behind the tops of the mountains. The 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 19 

ing a lady of middle height, with a lovely figure, 
dressed in a robe of simple white, trimmed with pink 
ribbons. She was holding a rye loaf in her hand, and 
was cutting slices for the little ones all around, in 
proportion to their age and appetite. She performed 
her task in a graceful and affectionate manner; each 
claimant awaiting his turn with outstretched hands, 
and boisterously shouting his thanks. Some of them 
ran away at once, to enjoy their evening meal ; whilst 
others, of a gentler disposition, retired to the courtyard 
to see the strangers, and to survey the carriage in 
which their Charlotte was to drive away. "Pray 
forgive me for giving you the trouble to come for 
me, and for keeping the ladies waiting: but dressing, 
and arranging some household duties before I leave, 
had made me forget my children's supper; and they 
do not like to take it from any one but ma" I 
uttered some indifferent compliment: but my whole 
soul was absorbed by her air, her voice, her manner ; 
and I had scarcely recovered myself when she ran 
into her room to fetch her gloves and fan. The young 
ones threw inquiring glances at me from a distance; 
whilst I approached the youngest, a most delicious 
little creature. He drew back ; and Charlotte, enter- 
ing at the very moment, said, "Louis, shake hands 
with your cousin." The little fellow obeyed willingly ; 
and I could not resist giving him a hearty kiss, not- 
withstanding his rather dirty face. "Cousin," said 
I to Charlotte, as I handed her down, " do you think 
I deserve the happiness of being related to you?" 
She replied, with a ready smile, " Oh ! I have such 
a number of cousins, that I should be sorry if you 
were the most undeserving of them." In taking leave, 
she desired her next sister, Sophy, a girl about eleven 
years old, to take great care of the children, and to say 
good-bye to papa for her when he came home from 
his ride. She enjoined to the little ones to obey their 



20 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



sister Sophy as they would herself, upon which some 
promised that they would ; but a little fair-haired girl, 
about six years old, looked discontented, and said, 
" But Sophy is not you, Charlotte ; and we like you 
best/' The two eldest boys had clambered up the 
carriage ; and, at my request, she permitted them to 
accompany us a little way through the forest, upon 
their promising to sit very still, and hold fast. 

We were hardly seated, and the ladies had scarcely 
exchanged compliments, making the usual remarks 
upon each other's dress, and upon the company they 
expected to meet, when Charlotte stopped the carriage, 
and made her brothers get down. They insisted upon 
kissing her hands once more ; which the eldest did 
with all the tenderness of a youth of fifteen, but the 
other in a lighter and more careless manner. She 
desired them again to give her love to the children^ 
and we drove off. 

The aunt inquired of Charlotte whether she had 
finished the book she had last sent her, " No," said 
Charlotte ; " I did not like it : you can have it again. 
And the one before was not much better." I was sur- 
prised, upon asking the title, to hear that it was 1 . 

I found penetration and character in everything she 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 21 

some charms for me yet. But I read so seldom, that 
I prefer books suited exactly to my taste. And I 
like those authors best whose scenes describe my own 
situation in life, — and the friends who are about me, 
whose stories touch me with interest, from resembling 
my own homely existence, — which, without being 
absolutely paradise, is, on the whole, a source of inde- 
scribable happiness," 

I endeavoured to conceal the emotion which these 
words occasioned, but it was of slight avail ; for, when 
she had expressed so truly her opinion of " The Vicar 
of Wakefield," and of other works, the names of which 
I omit, 1 1 could no longer contain myself, but gave full 
utterance to what I thought of it : and it was not until 
Charlotte had addressed herself to the two other ladies, 
that I remembered their presence, and observed them 
sitting mute with astonishment. The aunt looked at 
me several times with an air of raillery, which, 
however, I did not at all mind. 

We talked of the pleasures of dancing. "If it is 
a fault to love it," said Charlotte, "I am ready to 
confess that I prize it above all other amusements. 
If anything disturbs me, I go to the piano, play an air 
to which I have danced, and all goes right again directly ." 

You, who know me, can fancy how steadfastly I 
gazed upon her rich dark eyes during these remarks, 
how my very soul gloated over her warm lips and 
fresh, glowing cheeks, how I became quite lost in 
the delightful meaning of her words, so much so, that 
I scarcely heard the actual expressions. In short, I 
alighted from the carriage like a person in a dream, 
and was so lost to the dim world around me, that I 
scarcely heard the music which resounded from the 
illuminated ballroom. 

1 Thoueh the names are omitted, yet the authors mentioned 
deserve Charlotte's approbation, and will feel it in their hearts 
when they read this passage. It concerns no other person. 



2* 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



The two Messrs, Andran and a certain N. N. (I 
cannot trouble myself with the names), who were the 
aunt's and Charlotte's partners, received us at the 
carriage-door, and took possession of their ladies, whilst 
I followed with mine 

We commenced with a minuet. I led out one lady 
after another, and precisely those who were the most 
disagreeable could not bring themselves to leave off T 
Charlotte and her partner began an English country 
dance, and you must imagine my delight when it was 
their turn to dance the figure with ua You should 
see Charlotte dance. She dances with her whole 
heart and soul: her figure is all harmony, elegance, 
and graee, as if she were conscious of nothing else, and 
had no other thought or feeling ; and, doubtless, for the 
moment, every other sensation is extinct. 

She was engaged for the second country dance, but 
promised me the third, and assured me, with the most 
agreeable freedom, that she was very fond of waltzing. 
* It is the custom here," she said, * for the previous 
partners to waltz together ; but my partner is an in- 
different waltzer, and will feel delighted if I save him 
the trouble. Your partner is not allowed to waltz, 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 2$ 

drawn, we joined in, and kept it up famously together 
with one other couple, — Andran and his partner. 
Never did I dance more lightly. I felt myself more 
than mortal, holding this loveliest of creatures in my 
arms, flying with her as rapidly as the wind, till I lost 
sight of every other object; and O Wilhelm, I vowed 
at that moment, that a maiden whom I loved, or for 
whom I felt the slightest attachment, never, never 
should waltz with any one else but with me, if I 
went to perdition for it t — you will understand this. 

We took a few turns in the room to recover our 
breath. Charlotte sat down, and felt refreshed by 
partaking of some oranges which I had had secured, — 
the only ones that had been left; but at every slice 
which, from politeness, she offered to her neighbours, 
I felt as though a dagger went through my heart. 

We were the second couple in the third country 
dance. As we were going down (and Heaven knows 
with what ecstasy I gazed at her arms and eyes, 
beaming with the sweetest feeling of pure and genuine 
enjoyment), we passed a lady whom I had noticed for 
her charming expression of countenance ; although she 
was no longer young. She looked at Charlotte with 
a smile, then, holding up her finger in a threatening 
attitude, repeated twice in a very significant tone of 
voice the name of "Albert." 

" Who is Albert," said I to Charlotte, " if it is not 
impertinent to ask ? " She was about to answer, when 
we were obliged to separate, in order to execute a 
figure in the dance ; and, as we crossed over again in 
front of each other, I perceived she looked somewhat 
pensive. "Why need I conceal it from you?" she 
said, as she gave me her hand for the promenade. 
"Albert is a worthy man, to whom I am engaged." 
Now, there was nothing new to me in this (for the 
girls had told me of it on the way) ; but it was so far 
new that I had not thought of it in connection with 



*4 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



her whom, in so short a time, I had learned to prize 
so highly. Enough, I became confused, got out in the 
figure, and occasioned general confusion ; so that it 
required all Charlotte's presence of mind to set me 
right by p ullin g and pushing me into my proper 
place. 

The dance was not yet finished when the lightning 
which had for some time been seen in the horizon, and 
which I had asserted to proceed entirely from heat, 
grew more violent ; and the thunder was heard above 
the music. When any distress or terror surprises us 
in the midst of our amusements, it naturally makes a 
deeper impression than at other times, either because 
the contrast makes us more keenly susceptible, or 
rather perhaps because our sensea are then more open 
to impressions, and the shock is consequently stronger. 
To this cause I must ascribe the fright and shrieks of 
the ladies. One sagaciously sat down in a corner 
with her back to the window, and held her fingers to 
her ears; a second knelt down before her, and hid her 
face in her lap; a third threw herself between them, 
and embraced her sister with a thousand tears ; some 
insisted on going home; others, unconscious of their 
actions » wanted sufficient presence of mind to repress 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 25 

able forfeit. u Let us play at counting," said Charlotte. 
" Now, pay attention : I shall go round the circle from 
light to left; and each person is to count, one after 
the other, the number that comes to him, and must 
count fast; whoever stops or mistakes is to have a box 
on the ear, and so on, till we have counted a thou-* 
sand/ 9 It was delightful to see the fun. She went 
round the circle with upraised arm. " One," said the 
first; "two," the second; "three," the third; and so 
on, till Charlotte went faster and faster, (hie made 
a mistake, instantly a box on the ear ; and, amid the 
laughter that ensued, came another box; and so on, 
faster and faster. I myself came in for two. I fancied 
they were harder than the rest, and felt quite delighted. 
A general laughter and confusion put an end to the 
game long before we had counted as far as a thousand. 
The party broke up into little separate knots: the 
storm had ceased, and I followed Charlotte into the 
ballroom. On the way she said, " The game banished 
their fears of the storm." I could make no reply. " I 
myself," she continued, "was as much frightened as 
any of them ; but by affecting courage, to keep up the 
spirits of the others, I forgot my apprehensiona" We 
went to the window. It was still thundering at a dis- 
tance : a soft rain was pouring down over the country, 
and filled the air around us with delicious odours. 
Charlotte leaned forward on her arm; her eyes wan- 
dered over the scene ; she raised them to the sky, and 
then turned them upon me ; they were moistened with 
tears ; she placed her hand on mine and said, " Klop- 
stock ! " at once I remembered the magnificent ode 
which was in her thoughts : I felt oppressed with the 
weight of my sensations, and sank under them. It 
was more than I could bear. I bent over her hand, 
kissed it in a stream of delicious tears, and again 
looked up to her eyes. Divine Klopstock ! why didst 
thou not see thy apotheosis in those eyes ? And thy 



26 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



Dame, so often profaned, would that I never heard it 
repeated I 

Juke 10, 
I no longer remember where I stopped in my narra- 
tive: I only know it was two in the morning when 
I went to bed ; and if you had been with me, that I 
might have talked instead of writing to you, I should, 
in all probability, have kept you up till daylight 

I think I have not yet related what happened as we 
rode home from the ball, nor have I time to tell you 
now. It was a most magnificent sunrise: the whole 
country was refreshed, and the rain fell drop by drop 
from the trees in the forest. Our companions were 
asleep. Charlotte asked me if I did not wish to sleep 
also, and begged of me not to make any ceremony on 
her account. Looking steadfastly at her, I answered, 
• As long as I see those eyes open, there is no fear of 
my falling asleep.' 1 We both continued awake till we 
reached her door. The maid opened it softly, and 
assured her, in answer to her inquiries, that her father 
and the children were well, and still sleeping. I left 
her, asking permission to visit her in the course of the 
day. She consented, and I went, and, since that time, 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 27 

my pedestrian excursions, that all heaven lay so near 
it. How often in my wanderings from the hillside or 
from the meadows across the river, have I beheld this 
hunting-lodge, which now contains within it all the 
joy of my heart ! 

I have often, my dear Wilhelm, reflected on the 
eagerness men feel to wander and make new discov- 
eries, and upon that secret impulse which afterward 
inclines them to return to their narrow circle, conform 
to the laws of custom, and embarrass themselves no 
longer with what passes around them. 

It is so strange how, when I came here first, and 
gazed upon that lovely valley from the hillside, I felt 
charmed with the entire scene surrounding me. The 
little wood opposite — how delightful to sit under its 
shade ! How fine the view from that point of rock ! 
Then, that delightful chain of hills, and the exquisite 
valleys at their feet! Could I but wander and lose 
myself amongst them ! I went, and returned without 
finding what I wished. Distance, my friend, is like 
futurity. A dim vastness is spread before our souls : 
the perceptions of our mind are as obscure as those of 
our vision ; and we desire earnestly to surrender up 
our whole being, that it may be filled with the com- 
plete and perfect bliss of one glorious emotion. But 
alas ! when we have attained our object, when the dis- 
tant there becomes the present here, all is changed : we 
are as poor and circumscribed as ever, and our souls 
still languish for unattainable happiness. 

So does the restless traveller pant for his native soil, 
and find in his own cottage, in the arms of his wife, in 
the affections of his children, and in the labour neces- 
sary for their support, that happiness which he had 
sought in vain through the wide world. 

When, in the morning at sunrise, I go out to Wal- 
heim, and with my own hands gather in the garden 
the pease which are to serve for my dinner, when I sit 



23 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



down to shell them, and read my Homer daring the 
intervals, and then, selecting a saucepan from the 
kitchen, fetch my own butter, put my mess on the fire, 
cover it up, and sit down to stir it as occasion requires, 
I figure to myself the illustrious suitors of Penelope, 
killing, dressing, and preparing their own oxen and 
swine. Nothing fills me with a more pure and genu- 
ine sense of happiness than those traits of patriarchal 
life which, thank Heaven ! I can imitate without affec- 
tation. Happy is it, indeed, for me that my heart is 
capable of feeling the same simple and innocent pleas- 
ure as the peasant whose table is covered with food of 
his own rearing, and who not only enjoys his meal, 
but remembers with delight the happy days and sunny 
mornings when he planted it, the soft evenings when 
he watered it, and the pleasure he experienced in 
watching its daily growth. 

June 29. 

The day before yesterday, the physician came from 
the town to pay a visit to the judge. He found me 
on the floor playing with Charlotte's children. Some 
of them were scrambling over me, and others romped 
with me; and, as I caught and tickled them, they 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 29 

my heart so much as children. When I look on at 
their doings ; when I mark in the little creatures the 
seeds of all those virtues and qualities which they will 
one day find so indispensable ; when I behold in the 
obstinate all the future firmness and constancy of a 
noble character; in the capricious, that levity and 
gaiety of temper which will carry them lightly over 
the dangers and troubles of life, their whole nature 
simple and unpolluted, — then I call to mind the 
golden words of the Great Teacher of mankind, " Un- 
less ye become like one of these!" And now, my 
friend, these children, who are our equals, whom we 
ought to consider as our models, we treat them as 
though they were our subjects. They are allowed 
no will of their own. And have we, then, none our- 
selves? Whence comes our exclusive right? Is it 
because we are older and more experienced? Great 
God! from the height of thy heaven thou beholdest 
great children and little children, and no others ; and 
thy Son has long since declared which afford thee 
greatest pleasure. But they believe in him, and hear 
him not, — that, too, is an old story ; and they train 
their children after their own image, etc. 

Adieu, Wilhelm : I will not further bewilder myself 
with this subject. 

July 1. 
The consolation Charlotte can bring to an invalid 
I experience from my own heart, which suffers more 
from her absence than many a poor creature lingering 
on a bed of sickness. She is gone to spend a few 
days in the town with a very worthy woman, who is 
given over by the physicians, and wishes to have Char- 
lotte near her in her last moments. I accompanied 

her last week on a visit to the vicar of S , a small 

village in the mountains, about a league hence. We 
arrived about four o'clock: Charlotte had taken her 



3° 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



little sister with her. When we entered the vicarage 
court, we found the good old man sitting on a bench 
before the door, under the shade of two large walnut- 
trees. At the sight of Charlotte he seemed to gain 
new life, rose, forgot his stick, and ventured to walk 
toward her. She ran to him, and made him sit down 
again ; then, placing herself by his side, she gave him 
a number of messages from her father, and then caught 
up his youngest child, a dirty, ugly little thing, the 
joy of his old age, and kissed it. I wish you could 
have witnessed her attention to this old man, — how 
she raised her voice on account of his deafness ; how 
she told him of healthy young people, who had been 
carried off when it was least expected ; praised the 
virtues of Carlsbad, and commended his determination 
to spend the ensuing summer there ; and assured him 
that he looked better and stronger than he did when 
she saw him last. I, in the meantime, paid attention 
to his good lady. The old man seemed quite in 
spirits ; and as I could not help admiring the beauty 
of the walnut-trees, which formed such an agreeable 
shade over our he-ads, he began, though with some 
little difficulty, to tell us their history. "As to the 
oldest," said he, " we do not know who planted it, — 



SORROWS OF WERTHBR 31 

and told us how his predecessor had taken a fancy to 
him, as had his daughter likewise; and how he had 
become first his curate, and subsequently his successor. 
He had scarcely finished his story when his daughter 
returned through the garden, accompanied by the 
above-mentioned Herr Schmidt. She welcomed Char- 
lotte affectionately, and I confess I was much taken 
with her appearance. She was a lively-looking, good- 
humoured brunette, quite competent to amuse one for 
a short time in the country. Her lover (for such 
Herr Schmidt evidently appeared to be) was a polite, 
reserved personage, and would not join our conversa- 
tion, notwithstanding all Charlotte's endeavours to 
draw him out. I was much annoyed at observing, 
by his countenance, that his silence did not arise from 
want of talent, but from caprice and ill-humour. This 
subsequently became very evident, when we set out 
to take a walk, and Frederica joining Charlotte, with 
whom I was talking, the worthy gentleman's face, 
which was naturally rather sombre, became so dark 
and angry that Charlotte was obliged to touch my 
arm, and remind me that I was talking too much to 
Frederica. Nothing distresses me more than to see 
men torment each other; particularly when in the 
flower of their age, in the very season of pleasure, 
they waste their few short days of sunshine in quarrels 
and disputes, and only perceive their error when it is 
too late to repair it. This thought dwelt upon my 
mind ; and in the evening, when we returned to the 
vicar's, and were sitting round the table with our 
bread and milk, the conversation turned on the joys 
and sorrows of the world, I could not resist the temp- 
tation to inveigh bitterly against ill-humour. "We 
are apt," said I, "to complain, but with very little 
cause, that our happy days are few, and our evil days 
many. If our hearts were always disposed to receive 
the benefits Heaven sends us, we should acquire 



3* 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



strength to support evil when it comes." " But/* 
observed the vicars wife, " we cannot always com- 
mand our tempers, so much depends upon the con- 
stitution: when the body suffers, the mind is ill at 
ease/' " I acknowledge that," I continued ; '* but we 
must consider such a disposition in the light of a 
disease, and inquire whether there is no remedy for 
it/ 1 

u I should be glad to hear one," said Charlotte : * at 
least, I think very much depends upon ourselves; 
I know it is so with ma When anything annoys me, 
and disturbs my temper, I hasten into the garden, hum 
a couple of country dances, and it is all right with me 
directly." "That is what I meant," I replied; "ill- 
humour resembles indolence: it is natural to us; 
but if once we have courage to exert ourselves, we 
find our work run fresh from our hands, and we ex- 
perience in the activity from which we shrank a real 
enjoyment," Frederica listened very attentively : and 
the young man objected, that we were not masters of 
ourselves, and still less so of our feelings* " The ques- 
tion is about a disagreeable feeling," I added, * from 
which every one would willingly escape, but none 
know their own power without trial. Invalids are 



teM 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 33 

ing, which interrupted our conversation for a time. 
Herr Schmidt resumed the subject. "You call ill- 
humour a crime," he remarked, " but I think you use 
too strong a term." . " Not at all," I replied, " if that 
deserves the name which is so pernicious to ourselves 
and our neighbours. Is it not enough that we want 
the power to make one another happy, — must we de- 
prive each other of the pleasure which we can all make 
for ourselves ? Show me the man who has the courage 
to hide his ill-humour, who bears the whole burden 
himself, without disturbing the peace of those around 
him. No : ill-humour arises from an inward conscious- 
ness of our own want of merit, — from a discontent 
which ever accompanies that envy which foolish vanity 
engenders. We see people happy, whom we have not 
made so, and cannot endure the sight." Charlotte 
looked at me with a smile ; she observed the emotion 
with which I spoke : and a tear in the eyes of Frederica 
stimulated me to proceed. " Woe unto those," I said, 
" who use their power over a human heart to destroy 
the simple pleasures it would naturally enjoy! All 
the favours, all the attentions, in the world cannot 
compensate for the loss of that happiness which a 
cruel tyranny has destroyed." My heart was full as 
I spoke. A recollection of many things which had 
happened pressed upon my mind, and filled my eyes 
with tears. " We should daily repeat to ourselves," 
I exclaimed, "that we should not interfere with our 
friends, unless to leave them in possession of their own 
joys, and increase their happiness by sharing it with 
them ! But when their souls are tormented by a vio- 
lent passion, or their hearts rent with grief, is it in 
your power to afford them the slightest consola- 
tion? 

" And when the last fatal malady seizes the being 
whose untimely grave you have prepared, when she 
lies languid and exhausted before you, her dim eyes 



34 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



raised to heaven, and the damp of death upon her 

pallid brow, then you stand at her bedside like a 
condemned criminal, with the bitter feeling that your 
whole fortune could not save her; and the agonising 
thought wrings you, that all your efforts are powerless 
to impart even a moment's strength to the depart- 
ing soul, or quicken her with a transitory consola- 
tion/' 

At these words the remembrance of a similar scene 
at which I had been once present fell with full force 
upon my heart, I buried my face in my handkerchief, 
and hastened from the room, and was only recalled to 
my recollection by Charlotte's voice, who reminded me 
that it was time to return homa With what tender- 
ness she chid me on the way for the too eager 
interest I took in everything! She declared it would 
do me injury, and that I ought to spare myself. Yes, 
my angel ! I will do so for your sake. 

July 6. 
She is still with her dying friend, and is still the 

game bright, beautiful creature whose presence softens 
pain, and sheds happiness around whichever way she 
turns. She went out yesterday with her little sisters : 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 35 

fait her influence over ma Jane at the moment ap- 
proached -with the glass. Her sister, Marianne, wished 
to take it from her. " No ! " cried the child, with the 
sweetest expression of face, "Charlotte must drink 
first" 

The affection and simplicity with which this was 
uttered so charmed me, that I sought to express my 
feelings by catching up the child and kissing her 
heartily. She was frightened, and began to cry. " You 
should not do that," said Charlotte : I felt perplexed. 
"Come, Jane," she continued, taking her hand, and 
leading her down the steps again, "it is no matter: 
wash yourself quickly in the fresh water." I stood 
and watched them; and when I saw the little dear 
rubbing her cheeks with her wet hands, in full belief 
that all the impurities contracted from my ugly beard 
would be washed off by the miraculous water, and 
how, though Charlotte said it would do, she continued 
still to wash with all her might, as though she thought 
too much were better than too little, I assure you, 
Wilhelm, I never attended a baptism with greater 
reverence; and, when Charlotte came up from the 
well, I could have prostrated myself as before the 
prophet of an Eastern nation. 

In the evening I could not resist telling the story 
to a person who, I thought, possessed some natural 
feeling, because he was a man of understanding. But 
what a mistake I made. He maintained it was very 
wrong of Charlotte, — that we should not deceive chil- 
dren, — that such things occasioned countless mistakes 
and superstitions, from which we were bound to pro- 
tect the young. It occurred to me then, that this 
very man had been baptised only a week before; so 
I said nothing further, but maintained the justice of 
my own convictions. We should deal with children 
as God deals with us, — we are happiest under the 
influence of innocent delusions. 





^^Rl 








36 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

July 8. 
What a child is man that he should be so solicitous 
about a look 1 What a child is man ! We had been 
to Walheim ; the ladies went in a carriage ; but during 
our walk I thought I .^aw in HiatloiuV dark eyes — - 
I am a fool — but forgive me ! you should see them, 
— those eyes. — However, to be brief (for my own 
eyes are weighed down with sleep), you must know, 
when the ladies stepped into their carriage again, 
young W, Seldstadt, Andran, and I were standing 
about the door. They are a merry set of fellows, and 
they were all laughing and joking together. I watched 
Charlotte's eyes. They waudered from one to the 
other ; but they did not light on me, — on me, who 
stood there motionless, and who saw nothing but her ! 
My heart bade her a thousand times adieu, but she 
noticed me not. The carriage drove ofT, and my eyes 
filled with tears, I looked after her : suddenly I saw 
Charlotte's bonnet leaning out of the window, and she 
turned to look back, — was it at me? My dear 
friend, I know not; and in this uncertainty I find 
consolation. Perhaps she turned to look at me Per- 
haps ! Good-night — what a child I am 1 







SORROWS OF WERTHER 37 

has told me the strangest circumstance. Old M- 



is a covetous, miserly fellow, who has long worried 
and annoyed the poor lady sadly ; but she has borne 
her afflictions patiently. A few days ago, when the 
physician informed us that her recovery was hopeless, 
she sent for her husband (Charlotte was present), and 
addressed him thus: U I have something to confess, 
which, after my decease, may occasion trouble and 
confusion. I have hitherto conducted your household 
as frugally and economically as possible, but you must 
pardon me for having defrauded you for thirty years. 
At the commencement of our married life, you allowed 
a small sum for the wants of the kitchen, and the 
other household expenses. When our establishment 
increased and our property grew larger, I could not 
persuade you to increase the weekly allowance in 
proportion : in short, you know, that, when our wants 
were greatest, you required me to supply everything 
with seven florins a week. I took the money from 
you without an observation, but made up the weekly 
deficiency from the money-chest; as nobody would 
suspect your wife of robbing the household bank. But 
I have wasted nothing, and should have been con- 
tent to meet my eternal Judge without this confes- 
sion, if she, upon whom the management of your 
establishment will devolve after my decease, would 
be free from embarrassment upon your insisting that 
the allowance made to me, your former wife, was suffi- 
cient." 

I talked with Charlotte of the inconceivable manner 
in which men allow themselves to be blinded ; how 
any one could avoid suspecting some deception, when 
seven florins only were allowed to defray expenses 
twice as great. But I have myself known people who 
believed, without any visible astonishment, that their 
house possessed the prophet's never-failing cruse of 
oiL 



3* 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



July 13, 
No* I am not deceived. In her dark eyes I read 
a genuine interest in me and in my fortunea Yes, I 
feel it; and I may believe my own heart which tells 
me — dare I say it? — dare I pronounce the divine 
words ? — that she loves me ! 

That she loves me I How the idea exalts me in 
my own eyes ! And, as you can understand my feel- 
ings, I may say to you, how I honour myself since 
she loves me ! 

Is this presumption, or is it a consciousness of the 
truth ? I do not know a mau able to supplant me in 
the heart of Charlotte ; and yet when she speaks of 
her betrothed with so much warmth and affection, I 
feel like the soldier who has been stripped of his 
honours and titles, and deprived of his sword. 

July 16* 
How my heart beats when by accident I touch her 
finger, or my feet meet hers under the table ! I draw 
hack as if from a furnace ; but a secret force impels 
me forward again, and my senses become disordered. 
Her innocent, unconscious heart never knows what 
agony these little familiarities inflict upon me. Some- 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 39 

the piano with angelic skill, — so simple is it, and yet 
so spiritual! It is her favourite air; and, when she 
plays the first note, all pain, care, and sorrow disap- 
pear from me in a moment 

I believe every word that is said of the magic of 
ancient music. How her simple song enchants me! 
Sometimes, when I am ready to commit suicide, she 
sings that air; and instantly the gloom and madness 
which hung over me are dispersed, and I breathe freely 
again. 

July 18. 

Wilhelm, what is the world to our hearts without 
love ? What is a magic-lantern without light ? You 
have but to kindle the flame within, and the brightest 
figures shine on the white wall; and, if love only 
show us fleeting shadows, we are yet happy, when, 
like mere children, we behold them, and are trans- 
ported with the splendid phantoms. I have not been 
able to see Charlotte to-day. I was prevented by 
company from which I could not disengage myself. 
What was to be done? I sent my servant to her 
house, that I might at least see somebody to-day who 
had been near her. Oh, the impatience with which I 
waited for his return ! the joy with which I welcomed 
him ! I should certainly have caught him in my 
arms, and kissed him, if I had not been ashamed. 

It is said that the Bonona stone, when placed in the 
sun, attracts the rays, and for a time appears luminous 
in the dark. So was it with me and this servant. 
The idea that Charlotte's eyes had dwelt on his counte- 
nance, his cheek, his very apparel, endeared them all 
inestimably to me, so that at the moment I would not 
have parted from him for a thousand crowns. His 
presence made me so happy ! Beware of laughing at 
me, Wilhelm. Can that be a delusion which makes 
us happy ? 



40 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



July 19. 
M I shall see her to-day ! " I exclaim with delight, 
when I rise in the morning, and look out with glad- 
ness of heart at the bright, beautiful sua. " I shall 
see her to-day ■ w And then I have no further wish 
to form: all, all is included in that one thought. 

July 20. 

I cannot assent to your proposal that I should 

accompany the ambassador to , I do not love 

subordination ; and we all know that he is a rough, 
disagreeable person to be connected with. You say 
my mother wishes me to be employed. I could not 
help laughing at that. Am I not sufficiently em- 
ployed ? And is it not in reality the same, whether I 
shell peas or count lentils ? The world runs on from 
one folly to another; and the man who, solely from 
regard to the opinion of others, and without any wish 
or necessity of his own* toils after gold, honour, or any 
other phantom, is no better than a fooL 

July 24. 
You insist so much on my not neglecting my draw 
ing p that it would be as well for me to say nothing an 



•'/A.rrv .«.\'c v >^.'c /.■■./ ha Nvhi 

Pho-u^ravurr. .itl-. r ti ■■.■ di.-.viii'j hy W ''- 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 41 

likenesses. I have since sketched her profile, and 
must' content myself with that. 

July 25. 
Tee, dear Charlotte ! I will order and arrange every- 
thing. Only give me more commissions, the more the 
better. One thing, however, I must request : use no 
more writing-sand with the dear notes you send me. 
To-day I raised your letter hastily to my lips, and it 
set my teeth on edge. 

July 26. 
I have often determined not to see her so frequently. 
But who could keep such a resolution ? Every day I 
am exposed to the temptation, and promise faithfully 
that to-morrow I will really stay away : but, when to- 
morrow comes, I find some irresistible reason for seeing 
her ; and, before I can account for it, I am with her 
again. Either she has said on the previous evening, 
u You will be sure to call to-morrow," — and who could 
stay away then ? — or she gives me some commission, 
and I find it essential to take her the answer in per- 
son ; or the day is fine, and I walk to Walheim ; and, 
when I am there, it is only half a league farther to 
her. I am within the charmed atmosphere, and soon 
find myself at her side. My grandmother used to tell 
us a story of a mountain of loadstone. When any 
vessels came near it, they were instantly deprived of 
their ironwork: the nails flew to the mountain, and 
the unhappy crew perished amidst the disjointed 
planks. 

July 30. 

Albert is arrived, and I must take my departure. 

Were he the best and noblest of men, and I in every 

respect his inferior, I could not endure to see him in 

possession of such a perfect being. Possession ! — 



42 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



enough, Wilhelm : her betrothed is here, — a fine, 
worthy fellow, whom one cannot help liking. For- 
tunately I was not present at their meeting. It would 
have broken my heart ! And he is so considerate : he 
has not given Charlotte one kiss in my presence. 
Heaven reward him for it I I must love him for the 
respect with which he treats her. He shows a regard 
for me, but for this I suspect I am more indebted to 
Charlotte than to his own fancy for me. Women have 
a delicate tact in such matters, and it should be so. 
They cannot always succeed in keeping two rivals on 
terms with each other; but, when they do, they are 
the only gainers, 

I cannot help esteeming Albert. The coolness of 
his temper contrasts strongly with the impetuosity 
of mine, which I cannot conceal. He has a great deal 
of feeling, and is fully sensible of the treasure he 
possesses in Charlotte, He is free from ill-humour, 
which you know is the fault I detest most. 

He regards me as a man of sense ; and my attach- 
ment to Charlotte, and the interest I take in all that 
concerns her, augment his triumph and his love. I 
shall not inquire whether he may not at times tease 
her with some little jealousies ; as I know, that, were I 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 43 

tell me to be resigned, because there is no help for it 
Let me escape from the yoke of such silly subterfuges ! 
I ramble through the woods; and when I return to 
Charlotte, and find Albert sitting by her side in the 
summer-house in the garden, I am unable to bear it, 
behave like a fool, and commit a thousand extrava- 
gances. "For Heaven's sake," said Charlotte to-day, 
" let us have no more scenes like those of last night I 
Tou terrify me when you are so violent" Between 
ourselves, I am always away now when he visits her ; 
and I feel delighted when I find her alone. 

August 8. 

Believe me, dear Wilhelm, I did not allude to you 
when I spoke so severely of those who advise resigna- 
tion to inevitable fate. I did not think it possible for 
you to indulge such a sentiment. But in fact you are 
right I only suggest one objection. In this world 
one is seldom reduced to make a selection between 
two alternatives. There are as many varieties of con- 
duct and opinion as there are turns of feature between 
an aquiline nose and a flat one. 

You will, therefore, permit me to concede your en- 
tire argument, and yet contrive means to escape your 
dilemma. 

Your position is this, I hear you say : " Either you 
have hopes of obtaining Charlotte, or you have none. 
Well, in the first case, pursue your course, and press 
on to the fulfilment of your wishes. In the second, be 
a man, and shake off a miserable passion, which will 
enervate and destroy you." My dear friend, this is 
well and easily said. 

But would you require a wretched being, whose life 
is slowly wasting under a lingering disease, to despatch 
himself at once by the stroke of a dagger ? Does not 
the very disorder which consumes his strength deprive 
him of the courage to effect his deliverance ? 



44 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



You may answer me, if you please, with a similar 
analogy, u Who would not prefer the amputation of an 
arm to the periling of life by doubt and procrastina- 
tion ! " But 1 know not if I am right, and let us leave 
these comparisons. 

Enough I There are moments, Wilhelm, when I 
could rise up and shake it all off, and when, if I only 
knew where to go, I could fly from this place, 

The same evenikg. 
My diary, which I have for some time neglected, 
came before me to-day ; and I am amazed to see how 
deliberately I have entangled myself step by step. To 
have seen my position so clearly, and yet to have 
acted so like a child 1 Even still I behold the result 
plainly, and yet have no thought of acting with greater 
prudence. 

August 10. 
If I were not a fool, I could spend the happiest and 
most delightful life here, So many agreeable circum- 
stances, and of a kind to ensure a worthy man's happi- 
ness, are seldom united. Alas I I feel it too sensibly, 
— the heart alone makes our happiness! To he ad- 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 45 

self in charge to him; how, since that time, a new 
spirit had taken possession of her; how, in care and 
anxiety for their welfare, she became a real mother to 
them ; how every moment of her time was devoted to 
some labour of love in their behalf, — and yet her 
mirth and cheerfulness had never forsaken her. I 
walk by his side, pluck flowers by the way, arrange 
them carefully into a nosegay, then fling them into the 
first stream I pass, and watch them as they float 
gently away. I forget whether I told you that Albert 
is to remain here. He has received a government ap- 
pointment, with a very good salary ; and I understand 
he is in high favour at court I have met few persons 
so punctual and methodical in business. 

August 12. 
Certainly Albert is the best fellow in the world. I 
had a strange scene with him yesterday. I went to 
take leave of him ; for I took it into my head to spend 
a few days in these mountains, from where I now write 
to you. As I was walking up and down his room, my 
eye fell upon his pistols. " Lend me those pistols," 
said I, " for my journey." " By all means," he replied, 
u if you will take the trouble to load them ; for they 
only hang there for form." I took down one of them ; 
and he continued, " Ever since I was near suffering for 
my extreme caution, I will have nothing to do with 
such things." I was curious to hear the story. " I was 
staying," said he, " some three months ago, at a friend's 
house in the country. I had a brace of pistols with 
me, unloaded ; and I slept without any anxiety. One 
rainy afternoon I was sitting by myself, doing nothing, 
when it occurred to me — I do not know how — that 
the house might be attacked, that we might require 
the pistols, that we might — in short, you know how 
we go on fancying, when we have nothing better to do. 
I gave the pistols to the servant, to clean and load. 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



He was playing with the maid, and trying to frighten 
her, when the pistol went off — God knows how ! — 
the ramrod was in the barrel ; and it went straight 
through her right hand, and shattered the thumb, I 
had to endure all the lamentation, and to pay the 
surgeon's bill ; so, since that time, I have kept all my 
weapons unloaded. But, my dear friend, what is the 
use of prudence? We can never be on our guard 
against all possible dangers. However," — now, you 
must know I can tolerate aU men till they come to 
* however j " for it is self-evident that every universal 
rule must have its exceptions. But he is so exceed- 
ingly accurate, that, if he only fancies he has said a 
word too precipitate, or too general, or only half true, 
he never ceases to qualify, to modify, and extenuate, 
till at last he appears to have said nothing at aU 
Upon this occasion, Albert was deeply immersed in his 
subject : I ceased to listen to him, and became lost in 
reverie. With a sudden motion, I pointed the mouth 
of the pistol to my forehead, over the right eye. 
'* What do you mean ? " cried Albert, turning back the 
pistol " It is not loaded," said I. « And even if not," 
he answered with impatience, K what can you mean ? 
I cannot comprehend how a man can be so mad as to 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 47 

some exceptions here too. Theft is a crime ; but the 
man who commits it from extreme poverty, with no 
design but to save his family from perishing, is he an 
object of pity, or of punishment ? Who shall throw 
the first stone at a husband, who, in the heat of just 
resentment, sacrifices his faithless wife and her perfidi- 
ous seducer? or at the young maiden, who, in her 
weak hour of rapture, forgets herself in the impetuous 
joys of love ? Even our laws, cold and cruel as they 
are, relent in such cases, and withhold their punish- 
ment" 

" That is quite another thing," said Albert ; " because 
a man under the influence of violent passion loses all 
power of reflection, and is regarded as intoxicated or 
insane." 

"Oh! you people of sound understandings," I re- 
plied, smiling, "are ever ready to exclaim 'Extrava- 
gance, and madness, and intoxication!' Tou moral 
men are so calm and so subdued! You abhor the 
drunken man, and detest the extravagant ; you pass by, 
like the Levite, and thank God, like the Pharisee, that 
you are not like one of them. I have been more 
than once intoxicated, my passions have always bor- 
dered on extravagance : I am not ashamed to confess 
it ; for I have learned, by my own experience, that all 
extraordinary men, who have accomplished great and 
astonishing actions, have ever been decried by the 
world as drunken or insane. And in private life, too, 
is it not intolerable that no one can undertake the 
execution of a noble or generous deed, without giving 
rise to the exclamation that the doer is intoxicated or 
mad ? Shame upon you, ye sages ! " 

" This is another of your extravagant humours," said 
Albert: "you always exaggerate a case, and in this 
matter you are undoubtedly wrong ; for we were speak- 
ing of suicide, which you compare with great actions, 
when it is impossible to regard it as anything but a 



48 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



weakness. It is much easier to die than to bear a life 
of misery with fortitude." 

I was on the point of breaking off the conversation, 
for nothing puts me so completely out of patience as 
the utterance of a wretched commonplace when I am 
talking from my inmost heart. However, I composed 
my self , for I had often heard the same observation 
with sufficient vexation ; and I answered him, there- 
fore, with a little warmth, " You call this a weakness 
— beware of being led astray by appearances. When 
a nation, which has long groaned under the intolerable 
yoke of a tyrant, rises at last and throws off its chains, 
do you call that weakness ? The man who, to rescue 
his house from the flames, finds his physical strength 
redoubled, so that he lifts burdens with ease, which, in 
the absence of excitement, he could scarcely move ; he 
who, under the rage of an insult, attacks and puts to 
flight half a i score of his enemies, — are such persons 
to be called weak ? My good friend, if resistance be 
strength, how can the highest degree of resistance be a 
weakness 1 " 

Albert looked steadfastly at me, and said, {i Pray 
forgive me, but I do not see that the examples you have 
adduced bear any .ration to the question" "Very 



Iikelv." I ans- 



" for ] have often been told that 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 49 

■ 

may be moral or physical; and in my opinion it is 
just as asburd to call a man a coward who destroys 
himself, as to call a man a coward who dies of a 
malignant fever." 

"Paradox, all paradox!" exclaimed Albert. "Not 
so paradoxical as you imagine," I replied. " You allow 
that we designate a disease as mortal when nature is 
so severely attacked, and her strength so far exhausted, 
that she cannot possibly recover her former condition 
under any change that may take place. 

" Now, my good friend, apply this to the mind ; 
observe a man in his natural, isolated condition ; con- 
sider how ideas work, and how impressions fasten on 
him, till at length a violent passion seizes him, des- 
troying all his powers of calm reflection, and utterly 
mining him. 

" It is in vain that a man of sound mind and cool 
temper understands the condition of such a wretched 
being, in vain he counsels him. He can no more com- 
municate his own wisdom to him than a healthy man 
can instil his strength into the invalid, by whose bed- 
side he is seated." 

Albert thought this too general. I reminded him of 
a girl who had drowned herself a * ' - f time previously, 
and I related her history. 

She was a good creature, who had grown up in the 
narrow sphere of household industry and weekly- 
appointed labour ; one who knew no pleasure beyond 
indulging in a walk on Sundays, arrayed in her best 
attire, accompanied by her friends, or perhaps joining 
in the dance now and then at some festival, and chat- 
ting away her spare hours with a neighbour, discussing 
the scandal or the quarrels of the village, — trifles suf- 
ficient to occupy her heart. At length the warmth of 
her nature is influenced by certain new and unknown 
wishes. Inflamed by the flatteries of men, her former 
pleasures become by degrees insipid, till at length she 



5° 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



meets with a youth to whom she is attracted by an 
indescribable feeling ; upon him she now rests all her 
hopes s she forgets the world around her ; she sees* 
hears, desires nothing but him, and him only. He 
alone occupies all her thoughts. Uncorrupted by the 
idle indulgence of an enervating vanity, her affection 
moving steadily toward its object, she hopes to become 
his, and to realise, in an everlasting union with him, 
all that happiness which she sought, all that bliss for 
which she longed. His repeated promises confirm her 
hopes : embraces and endearments, which increase the 
ardour of her desires, overmaster her soul She floats 
in a dim, delusive anticipation of her happiness ; and 
her feelings become excited to their utmost tension. 
She stretches out her arms finally to embrace the 
object of all her wishes — and her lover forsakes her. 
Stunned and bewildered, she stands upon a precipice* 
All is darkness around her. No prospect, no hope, no 
consolation — forsaken by him in whom her existence 
was centred ! She sees nothing of the wide world 
before her, thinks nothing of the many individuals who 
might supply the void in her heart; she feels herself 
deserted, forsaken by the world ; and, blinded and im- 
pelled by the agony which wrings her soul, she plunges 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 51 

blood became calm ? all would then have gone well, 
and he would have been alive now/ " 

Albert, who could not see the justice of the compar- 
ison, offered some further objections, and, amongst 
others, urged that I had taken the case of a mere 
ignorant girL But how any man of sense, of more 
enlarged views and experience, could be excused, he 
was unable to comprehend. " My friend ! " I ex- 
claimed, "man is but man; and, whatever be the 
extent of his reasoning powers, they are of little avail 
when passion rages within, and he feels himself con- 
fined by the narrow limits of nature. It were better, 
then — but we will talk of this some other time," I 
said, and caught up my hat. Alas! my heart was 
full ; and we parted without conviction on either side. 
How rarely in this world do men understand each 
other! 

August 15. 
There can be no doubt that in this world nothing is 
so indispensable as love. I observe that Charlotte 
could not lose me without a pang, and the very children 
have but one wish ; that is, that I should visit them 
again to-morrow. I went this afternoon to tune 
Charlotte's piano. But I could not do it, for the little 
ones insisted on my teUing them a story ; and Char- 
lotte herself urged me to satisfy them. I waited upon 
them at tea, and they are now as fully contented with 
me as with Charlotte ; and I told them my very best 
tale of the princess who was' waited upon by dwarfs. 
I improve myself by this exercise, and am quite sur- 
prised at the impression my stories create. If I some- 
times invent an incident which I forget upon the next 
narration, they remind me directly that the story was 
different before ; so that I now endeavour to relate with 
exactness* the same anecdote in the same monotonous 
tone, which never changes. I find by this, how much 



S 2 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



an author injures his works by altering them, even 

though they be improved in a poetical point of view. 
The first impression is readily received. We are so 
constituted that we believe the most incredible things ; 
and, once they are engraved upon the memory , woe to 
him who would endeavour to efface them. 



August IS. 
Must it ever be thus, — that the source of our hap- 
piness must also be the fountain of our misery ? The 
full and ardent sentiment which animated my heart 
with the love of nature, overwhelming me with a 
torrent of delight, and which brought all paradise 
before me, has now become an insupportable torment, 
— a demon which perpetually pursues and harasses 
me. When in bygone days I gazed from these rocks 
upon yonder mountains across the river, and upon the 
green, flowery valley before me, and saw all nature 
budding and bursting arouud; the hills clothed from 
foot to peak with tall, thick forest trees ; the valleys 
in all their varied windings, shaded with the loveliest 
woods; and the soft river gliding along amongst the 
lisping reeds, mirroring the beautiful clouds which 
the soft evening breeze wafted across the sky, — when 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 53 

soul ! Stupendous mountains encompassed me, abysses 
yawned at my feet, and cataracts fell headlong down 
before me ; impetuous rivers rolled through the plain, 
and rocks and mountains resounded from afar. In the 
depths of the earth I saw innumerable powers in 
motion, and multiplying to infinity; whilst upon its 
surface, and beneath the heavens, there teemed ten 
thousand varieties of living creatures. Everything 
around is alive with an infinite number of forms; 
while mankind fly for security to their petty houses, 
from the shelter of which they rule in their imagina- 
tions over the wide-extended universe. Poor fool ! in 
whose petty estimation all things are little. From the 
inaccessible mountains, across the desert which no 
mortal foot has trod, far as the confines of the unknown 
ocean, breathes the spirit of the eternal Creator ; and 
every atom to which he has given existence finds 
favour in his sight. Ah, how often at that time has 
the flight of a bird, soaring above my head, inspired . 
me with the desire of being transported to the shores 
of the immeasurable waters, there to quaff the pleasures 
of life from the foaming goblet of the Infinite, and to 
partake, if but for a moment even, with the confined 
powers of my soul, the beatitude of that Creator 
who accomplishes all things in himself, and through 
himself! 

My dear friend, the bare recollection of those hours 
still consoles me. Even this effort to recall those 
ineffable sensations, and give them utterance, exalts 
my soul above itself, and makes me doubly feel the 
intensity of my present anguish. 

It is as if a curtain had been drawn from before my 
eyes, and, instead of prospects of eternal life, the abyss 
of an ever open grave yawned before me. Can we say 
of anything that it exists when all passes away, — 
when time, with the speed of a storm, carries all things 
onward, — and our transitory existence, hurried along 



54 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



by the torrent, is either swallowed up by the waves or 

dashed against the rocks ? There is not a moment but 
preys upon you, and upon all around you, — not a 
moment in which you da not yourself become a des- 
troyer. The most innocent walk deprives of life 
thousands of poor insects : one step destroys the fabric 
of the industrious ant, and converts a little world into 
chaos. No : it is not the great and rare calamities of 
the world, the floods which sweep away whole vil- 
lages, the earthquakes which swallow up our towns, 
that affect me. My heart is wasted by the thought of 
that destructive power which lies concealed in every 
part of universal nature. Nature has formed nothing 
that does not consume itself, and every object near it : 
so that, surrounded by earth and air, and all the active 
powers, I wander on my way with aching heart ; and the 
universe is to me a fearful monster, for ever devouring 
its own offspring. 



Auoubt 21, 

In vain do I stretch out my arms toward her when 

I awaken in the morning from my weary slumbers. 

In vain do I seek for her at night in my bed, when 

some innocent dream has happily deceived me, and 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 55 

ourselves up, we are totally lost Many a time and 
oft I wish I were a common labourer ; that, awakening 
in the morning, I might have but one prospect, one 
pursuit, one hope, for the day which has dawned. I 
often envy Albert when I see him buried in a heap of 
papers and parchments, and I fancy I should be happy 
were I in his place. Often impressed with this feeling, 
I have been on the point of writing to you and to the 
minister, for the appointment at the embassy, which 
you think I might obtain. I believe I might procure 
it The minister has long shown a regard for me, and 
has frequently urged me to seek employment It is 
the business of an hour only. Now and then the fable 
of the horse recurs to me. Weary of liberty, he suf- 
fered himself to be saddled and bridled, and was ridden 
to death for his pains. I know not what to determine 
upon. For is not this anxiety for change the conse- 
quence of that restless spirit which would pursue me 
equally in every situation of life ? 

August 28. 
If my ills would admit of any cure, they would 
certainly be cured here. This is my birthday, and 
early in the morning I received a packet from Albert. 
Upon opening it, I found one of the pink ribbons which 
Charlotte wore in her dress the first time I saw her, 
and which I had several times asked her to give me. 
With it were two volumes in duodecimo of Wetstein's 
" Homer," a book I had often wished for, to save me 
the inconvenience of carrying the large Ernestine edi- 
tion with me upon my walks. You see how they 
anticipate my wishes, how well they understand all 
those little attentions of friendship, so superior to the 
costly presents of the great, which are humiliating. I 
kissed the ribbon a thousand times, and in every 
breath inhaled the remembrance of those happy and 
irrevocable days which filled me with the keenest joy. 



56 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



Such, Will) elm, is our fate. I do not murmur at it: 
the flowers of life are but visionary. How many pass 
away, and leave no trace behind — how few yield any 
fruit — and the fruit itself, how rarely doea it ripen I 
Aud yet there are flowers enough ! — and is it not 
strange, my friend, that we should suffer the little that 
does really ripen, to rot, decay, and perish unenjoyed ? 
Farewell ! This is a glorious summer* I often climb 
into the trees in Charlotte's orchard, and shake down 
the pears that hang on the highest branches. She 
stands below, and catches them as they fall. 

August 30, 

Unhappy being that I am ! Why do I thus deceive 
myself ? What is to come of all this wild, aimless, 
endless passion ? I cannot pray except to her. My 
imagination sees nothing but her : all surrounding ob- 
jects are of no account, except as they relate to her_ 
In this dreamy state I enjoy many happy hours, till 
at length I feel compelled to tear myself away from 
her. Ah, Wilhelm, to what does not my heart often 
compel me ! When I have spent several hours in her 
company, till I feel completely absorbed by her figure, 
her grace, the divine expression of her thoughts, my 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 57 

the ground, overcome with fatigue and dying with 
thirst; sometimes, late in the night, when the moon 
shines above me, I recline against an aged tree in 
some sequestered forest, to rest my weary limbs, when, 
exhausted and worn, I sleep till break of day. O 
Wilhelm! the hermit's cell, his sackcloth, and girdle 
of thorns would be luxury and indulgence compared 
with what I suffer. Adieu! I see no end to this 
wretchedness except the grave. 

September 8. 
I must away. Thank you, Wilhelm, for determin- 
ing my wavering purpose. For a whole fortnight I 
have thought of leaving her. I must away. She has 
returned to town, and is at the house of a friend. And 
then, Albert — yes, I must go. 

September 10. 

Oh, what a night, Wilhelm ! I can henceforth bear 
anything. I shall never see her again. Oh, why can- 
not I fall on your neck, and, with floods of tears and 
raptures, give utterance to all the passions which dis- 
tract my heart! Here I sit gasping for breath, and 
struggling to compose myself. I wait for day, and at 
sunrise the horses are to be at the door. 

And she is sleeping calmly, little suspecting that 
she has seen me for the last time. I am free. I have 
had the courage, in an interview of two hours' duration, 
not to betray my intention. And O Wilhelm, what a 
conversation it was ! 

Albert had promised to come to Charlotte in the 
garden immediately after supper. I was upon the 
terrace under the tall chestnut - trees, and watched 
the setting sun. I saw him sink for the last time be- 
neath this delightful valley and silent stream. I had 
often visited the same spot with Charlotte, and wit- 
nessed that glorious sight ; and now — I was walking 



58 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

up and down the very avenue which was so dear to 
me. A secret sympathy had frequently drawn me 
thither before I knew Charlotte; and we were de- 
lighted when, in our early acquaintance, we discov- 
ered that we each loved the same spot, which is indeed 
as romantic as any that ever captivated the fancy of 
an artist. 

From beneath the chestnut-trees, there is an exten- 
sive view. But I remember that I have mentioned 
all this in a former letter, and have described the tall 
mass of beech-trees at the end, and how the avenue 
grows darker and darker as it winds its way among 
them, till it ends in a gloomy recess, which has all the 
charm of a mysterious solitude. I still remember the 
strange feeling of melancholy which came over me 
the first time I entered that dark retreat, at bright 
midday. I felt some secret foreboding that it would, 
one day, be to me the scene of some happiness or 
misery. 

I had spent half an hour struggling between the 
contending thoughts of going and returning, when I 
heard them coming up the terrace. I ran to meet 
them. I trembled as I took her hand, and kissed it. 
As we reached the top of the terrace, the moon rose 
from behind the wooded hilL We conversed on many 
subjects, and, without perceiving it, approached the 
gloomy recess. Charlotte entered, and sat down. 
Albert seated himself beside her. I did the same, 
but my agitation did not suffer me to remain long 
seated. I got up, and stood before her, then walked 
backward and forward, and sat down again. I was 
restless and miserable. Charlotte drew our attention 
to the beautiful effect of the moonlight, which threw 
a silver hue over the terrace in front of us, beyond the 
beech-trees. It was a glorious sight, and was rendered 
more striking by the darkness which surrounded the 
spot where we were. We remained for some time 



> 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 59 

silent, when Charlotte observed, " Whenever I walk 
by moonlight, it brings to my remembrance all my 
beloved and departed friends, and I am filled with 
thoughts of death and futurity. We shall live again, 
Werther ! " she continued, with a firm but feeling voice ; 
" but shall we know one another again — what do you 
think ? what do you say ? " 

" Charlotte," I said, as I took her hand in mine, and 
my eyes filled with tears, "we shall see each other 
again — here and hereafter we shall meet again." I 
could say no more. Why, Wilhelm, should she put 
this question to me, just at the moment when the fear 
of our cruel separation filled my heart ? 

"And oh! do those departed ones know how we 
are employed here ? do they know when we are well 
and happy ? do they know when we recall their mem- 
ories with the fondest love? In the silent hour of 
evening the shade of my mother hovers around me; 
when seated in the midst of my children, I see them 
assembled near me, as they used to assemble near her ; 
and then I raise my anxious eyes to heaven, and wish 
she could look down upon us, and witness how I fulfil 
the promise I made to her in her last moments, to be 
a mother to her children. With what emotion do I 
then exclaim, ' Pardon, dearest of mothers, pardon me, 
if I do not adequately supply your place ! Alas ! I do 
my utmost. They are clothed and fed; and, still 
better, they are loved and educated. Could you but 
see, sweet saint ! the peace and harmony that dwells 
amongst us, you would glorify God with the warmest 
feelings of gratitude, to whom, in your last hour, you 
addressed such fervent prayers for our happiness.'" 
Thus did she express herself ; but Wilhelm ! who 
can do justice to her language ? how can cold and pas- 
sionless words convey the heavenly expressions of the 
spirit? Albert interrupted her gently. "This affects 
you too deeply, my dear Charlotte. I know your soul 



6o 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



dwells on such recollections with intense delight ; but 
I implore — " "0 Albert ! " she continued, " I am sure 
you do not forget the evenings when we three used to 
sit at the little round table, when papa was absent, and 
the little ones had retired. You often bad a good book 
with you, but seldom Tead it ; the conversation of that 
noble being was preferable to everything, — that beau- 
tiful, bright, gentle, and yet ever-toiling woman. God 
alone knows how I have supplicated with tears on my 
nightly couch, that I might be like her," 

i threw myself at her feet, and, seizing her hand, 
bedewed it with a thousand tears, * Charlotte I ■ I 
exclaimed, " God's blessing and your mother's spirit are 
upon you/ 1 H Oh I that you had known her" she 
said, with a warm pressure of the hand. " She was 
worthy of being known to you." I thought I should 
have fainted : never had I received praise so flattering. 
She continued, " And yet she was doomed to die in the 
flower of her youth, when her youngest child was 
scarcely six months old. Her illness was but short, 
but she was calm and resigned; and it was only for 
her children, especially the youngest, that she felt un- 
happy. When her end drew nigh, she bade me bring 
them to her. I obeyed. The younger ones knew 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 61 

"Albert, you were in the room. She heard some 
one moving : she inquired who it was, and desired you 
to approach. She surveyed us both with a look of 
composure and satisfaction, expressive of her convic- 
tion that we should be happy, — happy with one 
another." Albert fell upon her neck, and kissed her,- 
and exclaimed, " We are so, and we shall be so ! " 
Even Albert, generally so tranquil, had quite lost his 
composure ; and I was excited beyond expression. 

" And such a being," she continued, " was to leave us, 
Werther ! Great God, must we thus part with every- 
thing we hold dear in this world ? Nobody felt this 
more acutely than the children: they cried and 
lamented for a long time afterward, complaining that 
black men had carried away their dear mamma." 

Charlotte rose. It aroused me; but I continued 
sitting, and held her hand. " Let us go," she said : "it 
grows late." She attempted to withdraw her hand : I 
held it still. "We shall see each other again" I ex- 
claimed : " we shall recognise each other under every 
possible [change ! I am going," I continued, " going 
willingly; but, should I say for ever, perhaps I may 
not keep my word. Adieu, Charlotte ; adieu, Albert. 
We shall meet again." "Yes: to-morrow, I think," 
she answered with a smile. To-morrow! how I felt 
the word! Ah! she little thought, when she drew 
her hand away from mine. They walked down the 
avenue. I stood gazing after them in the moonlight. 
I threw myself upon the ground, and wept: I then 
sprang up, and ran out upon the terrace, and saw, 
under the shade of the linden-trees, her white dress 
disappearing near the garden-gate. I stretched out my 
arms, and she vanished. 



BOOK IL 



October 20. 
We arrived here yesterday. The ambassador is 
indisposed, and will not go out for some days. If he 
were less peevish and morose » all would be well I see 
but too plainly that Heaven has destined me to severe 
trials ; but courage 1 a light heart may bear anything. 
A light heart ! I smile to find such a word proceeding 
from my pen, A little more lightheadedness would 
render me the happiest being under the sun. But 
must I despair of my talents and faculties, whilst 
others of far inferior abilities parade before me with 
the utmost self-satisfaction ? Gracious Providence, to 
whom I owe all my powers, why didst thou not with- 
hold some of those blessings I possess, and substitute 
in their place a feeling of self-confidence and con- 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 63 

whom we seem the most inferior. All things appear 
greater than they really are, and all seem superior to 
us. This operation of the mind is quite natural: we 
so continually feel our own imperfections, and fancy 
we perceive in others the qualities we do not possess, 
attributing to them also all that we enjoy ourselves, 
that by this process we form the idea of a perfect, 
happy man, — a man, however, who only exists in our 
own imagination. 

But when, in spite of weakness and disappointments, 
we set to work in earnest, and persevere steadily, we 
often find, that, though obliged continually to tack, we 
make more way than others who have the assistance of 
wind and tide ; and, in truth, there can be no greater 
satisfaction than to keep pace with others or outstrip 
them in the race. 

November 26. 
I begin to find my situation here more tolerable, con- 
sidering all circumstances. I find a great advantage in 
being much occupied; and the number of persons I 
meet, and their different pursuits, create a varied enter- 
tainment for me. I have formed the acquaintance of 

the Count C , and I esteem him more and more 

every day. He is a man of strong understanding and 
great discernment; but, though he sees farther than 
other people, he is not on that account cold in his 
manner, but capable of inspiring and returning the 
warmest affection. He appeared interested in me on 
one occasion, when I had to transact some business 
with him. He perceived, at the first word, that we 
understood each other, and that he could converse with 
me in a different tone from what he used with others. 
I cannot sufficiently esteem his frank and open kind- 
ness to me. It is the greatest and most genuine of 
pleasures to observe a great mind in sympathy with 
our own. 



6 4 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



December 24. 

As I anticipated, the ambassador occasions me 
infinite annoyance. He is the most punctilious block- 
head under heaven. He does everything step by step, 
with the trifling minuteness of an old woman ; and he 
is a man whom it is impossible to please, because he is 
never pleased with bimstslf I like to do business 
regularly and cheerfully, and, when it is finished, to 
leave it. But he constantly returns niy papers to me, 
saying, ■■ They will do, n but recommending me to look 
over them again, as " one may always improve by using 
a better word or a more appropriate particle," I then 
lose all patience, and wish myself at the devil's. Not 
a conjunction, not an adverb, must be omitted : he 
has a deadly antipathy to all those transpositions of 
which I am so fond ; and, if the music of our periods 
is not tuned to the established official key, he cannot 
comprehend our meaning, It is deplorable to be con- 
nected with such a fellow. 

My acquaintance with the Count C is the only 

compensation for such an evil. He told me frankly, 
the other day, that he was much displeased with the 
difficulties and delays of the ambassador ; that people 
like him are obstacles, both to themselves and to 
others. " But," added he, " one must submit, like a 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 65 

that seemed to ask if I felt the blow. But it did 
not produce the desired effect : I despise a man who 
can think and act in such a manner. However, I 
made a stand, and answered with not a little warmth. 
The count, I said, was a man entitled to respect, alike 
for his character and his acquirements. I had never 
met a person whose mind was stored with more useful 
and extensive knowledge, — who had, in fact, mastered 
such an infinite variety of subjects, and who yet re- 
tained all his activity for the details of ordinary 
business. This was altogether beyond his comprehen- 
sion ; and I took my leave, lest my anger should 
be too highly excited by some new absurdity of his. 

And you are to blame for all this, you who per- 
suaded me to bend my neck to this yoke by preaching 
a life of activity to me. If the man who plants vege- 
tables, and carries his corn to town on market-days, is 
not more usefully employed than I am, then let me 
work ten years longer at the galleys to which I am 
now chained. 

Oh, the brilliant wretchedness, the weariness, that 
one is doomed to witness among the silly people whom 
we meet in society here ! The ambition of rank ! 
How they watch, how they toil, to gain precedence! 
What poor and contemptible passions are displayed in 
their utter nakedness ! We have a woman here, for 
example, who never ceases to entertain the company 
with accounts of her family and her estates. Any 
stranger would consider her a silly being, whose head 
was turned by her pretensions to rank and property ; 
but she is in reality even more ridiculous, — the 
daughter of a mere magistrate's clerk from this neigh- 
bourhood. I cannot understand how human beings 
can so debase themselves. 

Every day I observe more and more the folly of 
judging of others by ourselves; and I have so much 
trouble with myself, and my own heart is in such con- 




66 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



stant agitation, that I am well content to let others 
pursue their own course, if they only allow me the 
same privilege. 

What provokes me most is the unhappy extent to 
which distinctions of rank are carried. 1 know per- 
fectly well how necessary are inequalities of condition, 
and I am sensible of the advantages I myself derive 
therefrom ; but I would not have these institutions 
prove a barrier to the small chanee of happiness which 
I may enjoy on this earth. 

I have lately become acquainted with a Miss B , 

a very agreeable girl, who has retained her natural 
manners in the midst of artificial life. Our first con- 
versation pleased us both equally ; and, at taking leave, 
I requested permission to visit her. She consented in 
so obliging a manner, that I waited with impatience 
for the arrival of the happy moment. She is not a 
native of this place, but resides here with her aunt 
The countenance of the old lady is not prepossessing. 
I paid her much attention, addressing the greater part 
of my conversation to her ; and, in less than half an 
hour, I discovered what her niece subsequently ac- 
knowledged to me, that her aged aunt, having but a 
small fortune, and a still smaller share of understand- 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 67 

January 8, 1772. 

What beings are men, whose whole thoughts are 
occupied with form and ceremony, who for years to- 
gether devote their mental and physical exertions to 
the task of advancing themselves but one step, and 
endeavouring to occupy a higher place at the table. 
Not that such persons would otherwise want employ- 
ment: on the contrary, they give themselves much 
trouble by neglecting important business for such petty 
trifles. Last week a question of precedence arose at 
a sledging-party, and all our amusement was spoiled. 

The silly creatures cannot see that it is not place 
which constitutes real greatness, since the man who 
occupies the first place but seldom plays the principal 
part. How many kings are governed by their minis- 
ters — how many ministers by their secretaries ? Who, 
in such cases, is really the chief ? He, as it seems to 
me, who can see through the others, and possesses 
strength or skill enough to make their power or pas- 
sions subservient to the execution of his own designs. 

January 20. 

I must write to you from this place, my dear Char- 
lotte, from a small room in a country inn, where I have 
taken shelter from a severe storm. During my whole 

residence in that wretched place D , where I lived 

amongst strangers, — strangers, indeed, to this heart, — 
I never at any time felt the smallest inclination to cor- 
respond with you ; but in this cottage, in this retire- 
ment, in this sohtude, with the snow and hail beating 
against my lattice-pane, you are my first thought. The 
instant I entered, your figure rose up before me, and 
the remembrance ! my Charlotte, the sacred, tender 
remembrance ! Gracious Heaven ! restore to me the 
happy moment of our first acquaintance. 

Could you but see me, my dear Charlotte, in the 
whirl of dissipation, — how my senses are dried up, 



63 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



but my heart is at no time fulL 1 enjoy no single 
moment of happiness : all is vain — nothing touches 
ma I stand, as it were, before the raree-show : I see 
the little puppets move, and I ask whether it is not an 
optical illusion, I am amused with these puppets, or, 
rather, I am myself one of them : but, when I some- 
times grasp my neighbour's hand, I feel that it is not 
natural ; and I withdraw mine with a shudder. In the 
evening I say I will enjoy the next morning's sunrise, 
and yet I remain in bed : in the day I promise to 
ramble by moonlight ; and I, nevertheless, remain at 
home. I know not why I rise, nor why I go to sleep. 

The leaven which animated my existence is gone : 
the charm which cheered me in the gloom of night, 
and aroused me from my morning slumbers, is for ever 
fled. 

I have found but one being here to interest me, a 

Miss B . She resembles you, my dear Charlotte, 

if any one can possibly resemble you. M Ah I " you will 
say, " he has learned how to pay fine compliments/ , 
And this is partly true, I have been very agreeable 
lately, as it was not in my power to be otherwise, I 
have, moreover, a deal of wit : and the ladies say that 
no one understands flattery better, or falsehoods you 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 69 

little room, with the dear children playing around us I 
If they became troublesome to you, I would tell them 
some appalling goblin story; and they would crowd 
round me with silent attention. The sun is setting in 
glory ; his last rays are shining on the snow, which 
covers the face of the country : the storm is over, and 
I must return to my dungeon. Adieu ! — Is Albert 
with you ? and what is he to you ? God forgive the 
question. 

February 8. 
For a week past we have had the most wretched 
weather : but this to me is a blessing ; for, during my 
residence here, not a single fine day has beamed from 
the heavens, but has been lost to me by the intrusion 
of somebody. During the severity of rain, sleet, frost, 
and storm, I congratulate myself that it cannot be 
worse indoors than abroad, nor worse abroad than it is 
within doors ; and so I become reconciled. When the 
sun rises bright in the morning, and promises a glori- 
ous day, I never omit to exclaim, " There, now, they 
have another blessing from Heaven, which they will be 
sure to destroy : they spoil everything, — health, fame, 
happiness, amusement; and they do this generally 
through folly, ignorance, or imbecility, and always, 
according to their own account, with the best inten- 
tions ! " I could often beseech them, on my bended 
knees, to be less resolved upon their own destruction. 

February 17. 
I fear that my ambassador and I shall not continue 
much longer together. He is really growing past endur- 
ance. He transacts his business in so ridiculous a 
manner, that I am often compelled to contradict him, 
and do things my own way ; and then, of course, he 
thinks them very ill done. He complained of me 
lately on this account at court ; and the minister gave 



7° 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



me a reprimand, — a gentle one it is true, but still a 
reprimand. In consequence of this, I was about to 
tender my resignation, when I received a letter, to 
which I submitted with great respect, on account of 
the high, noble, and generous spirit which dictated it. 
He endeavoured to soothe my excessive sensibility, 
paid a tribute to my extreme ideas of duty, of good 
example, and of perseverance in business, as the fruit 
of my youthful ardour, — an impulse which he did 
not seek to destroy, but only to moderate, that it might 
have proper play and be productive of good. So now 
I am at rest for another week, and no longer at vari- 
ance with myself. Content and peace of mind are 
valuable things: I could wish, my dear friend, that 
these precious jewels were less transitory. 



February 20. 

God bless you, my dear friends, and may he grant 
you that happiness which he denies to me ! 

I thank you, Albert, for having deceived me. I 
waited for the news that your wedding-day was fixed ; 
and I intended on that day, with solemnity, to take 
down Charlotte's profile from the wall, and to bury it 
with some other papers I possess. You are now united, 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 71 

for you urged and impelled me to fill a post for which 
I was by no means suited. I have now reason to be sat- 
isfied, and so have you ! But, that you may not again 
attribute this fatality to my impetuous temper, I send 
you, my dear sir, a plain and simple narration of the 
affair, as a mere chronicler of facts would describe it. 

The Count of likes and distinguishes me. It 

is well known, and I have mentioned this to you a 
hundred times. Yesterday I dined with him. It is 
the day on which the nobility are accustomed to 
assemble at his house in the evening. I never once 
thought of the assembly, nor that we subalterns did 
not belong to such society. Well, I dined with the 
count; and, after dinner, we adjourned to the large 
halL We walked up and down together : and I con- 
versed with him, and with Colonel B , who joined 

us; and in this manner the hour for the assembly 
approached. Ood knows, I was thinking of nothing, 
when who should enter but the honourable Lady 

S , accompanied by her noble husband and their 

silly, scheming daughter, with her small waist and flat 
neck; and, with disdainful looks and a haughty air, 
they passed me by. As I heartily detest the whole 
race, I determined upon going away ; and only waited 
till the count had disengaged himself from their imper- 
tinent prattle, to take leave, when the agreeable Miss 
B— — came in. As I never meet her without expe- 
riencing a heartfelt pleasure, I stayed and talked to 
her, leaning over the back of her chair, and did not 
perceive, till after some time, that she seemed a little 
confused, and ceased to answer me with her usual ease 
of manner. I was struck with it. " Heavens ! " I said 
to myself, "can she, too, be like the rest?" I felt 
annoyed, and was about to withdraw ; but I remained, 
notwithstanding, forming excuses for her conduct, 
fancying she did not mean it, and still hoping to 
receive some friendly recognition. The rest of the 



7 2 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



company now arrived. There was the Baron F— , 

in an entire suit that dated from the coronation of 

Francis I. j the Chancellor N~ , with his deaf wife ; 

the shabbily-dressed I , whose old-fashioned coat 

bore evidence of modem repairs: this crowned the 
whole. I conversed with some of my acquaintances, 
hut they answered me laconically. I was engaged in 
observing Miss B » and did not notice that the 
women were whispering at the end of the room, that 
the murmur extended by degrees to the men, that 

Madame S addressed the count with much warmth 

(this was all related to me subsequently by Miss 

B ) ; till at length the count came up to me, and 

took me to the window. ■ You know our ridiculous 
customs " he said. "I perceive the company is rather 
displeased at your being here. I would not on any 
account — " "I beg your Excellency's pardon I " T ex- 
claimed. M I ought to have thought of this before, but 
I know you will forgive this little inattention. I was 
going," I added, " some time ago, but my evil genius 
detained me." And I smiled and bowed, to take my 
leave. He shook me by the hand, in a manner which 
expressed everything. I hastened at once from the 
illustrious assembly, sprang into a carriage, and drove 
to M ■. I co ii tern plated the set tine sun from the 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 73 

"I am delighted/' he added, "that you take it so 
lightly. I am only sorry that it is already so much 
spoken of." The circumstance then began to pain me. 
I fancied that every one who sat down, and even 
looked at me, was thinking of this incident; and my 
heart became embittered. 

And now I could plunge a dagger into my bosom, 
when I hear myself everywhere pitied, and observe the 
triumph of my enemies, who say that this is always 
the case with vain persons, whose heads are turned 
with conceit, who affect to despise forms and such 
petty, idle nonsense. 

Say what you will of fortitude, but show me the 
man who can patiently endure the laughter of fools, 
when they have obtained an advantage over him. Tis 
only when their nonsense is without foundation that 
one can suffer it without complaint. 

March 16. 
Everything conspires against me. I met Miss 

B walking to-day. I could not help joining her ; 

and, when we were at a little distance from her com- 
panions, I expressed my sense of her altered manner 
toward me. "0 Werther!" she said, in a tone of 
emotion, " you, who know my heart, how could you so 
ill interpret my distress ? What did I not suffer for 
you, from the moment you entered the room ! I fore- 
saw it all, — a hundred times was I on the point of 

mentioning it to you. I knew that the S s and 

T s, with their husbands, would quit the room, 

rather than remain in your company. I knew that 
the count would not break with them: and now so 
much is said about it." "How!" I exclaimed, and 
endeavoured to conceal my emotion ; for all that Adelin 
had mentioned to me yesterday recurred to me pain- 
fully at that moment. " Oh, how much it has already 
cost me ! " said this amiable girl, while her eyes filled 



74 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



with tears, I could scarcely contain myself, and was 
ready to throw myself at her feet, " Explain your- 
self ! " I cried. Tears flowed down her cheeks. I 
became quite frantic She wiped them away, without 
attempting to conceal them. " You know ray aunt," 
she continued ; " she was present : and in what light 
does she consider the affair I Last night, and this 
morning, Werther, I was compelled to listen to a 
lecture upon my acquaintance with you. I have been 
obliged to hear you condemned and depreciated ; and I 
could not — I dared not — say much in your defence." 
Every word she uttered was a dagger to my heart* 
She did not feel what a mercy it would have been to 
conceal everything from me. She told me, in addition, 
all the impertinence that would be further circulated, 
and how the malicious would triumph; how they 
would rejoice over the punishment of my pride, over 
my humiliation for that want of esteem for others 
with which I had often been reproached. To hear all 
this J Wilhelm, uttered by her in a voice of the most 
sincere sympathy, awakened all my passions; and I 
am still in a state of extreme excitement. I wish I 
could find a man to jeer me about this event. I would 
sacrifice him to ray resentment The sight of his 
blood 




r- -a- ■ r -r .=- - . - „ !_ ' 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 75 

to stay, and therefore — I beg you will soften this 
news to my mother. I am unable to do anything for 
myself: how, then, should I be competent to assist 
others ? It will afflict her that I should have inter- 
rupted that career which would have made me first a 
privy councillor, and then minister, and that I should 
look behind me, in place of advancing. Argue as you 
will, combine all the reasons which should have induced 
me to remain, — I am going : that is sufficient. But, 
that you may not be ignorant of my destination, I may 

mention that the Prince of is here. He is 

much pleased with my company; and, having heard 
of my intention to resign, he has invited me to his 
country house, to pass the spring months with him. 
I shall be left completely my own master ; and, as we 
agree on all subjects but one, I shall try my fortune, 
and accompany him. 

April 19. 
Thanks for both your letters. I delayed my reply, 
and withheld this letter, till I should obtain an answer 
from the court. I feared my mother might apply to 
the minister to defeat my purpose. But my request is 
granted, my resignation is accepted. I shall not 
recount with what reluctance it was accorded, nor 
relate what the minister has written : you would only 
renew your lamentations. The crown prince has sent 
me a present of five and twenty ducats ; and, indeed, 
such goodness has affected me to tears. For this 
reason I shall not require from my mother the money 
for which I lately applied. 

May 5. 

I leave this place to-morrow; and, as my native 

place is only six miles from the high road, I intend to 

visit it once more, and recall the happy dreams of my 

childhood. I shall enter at the same gate through 



7 6 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



which I came with my mother, when, after my father's 
death, she left that delightful retreat to immure herself 
id your melancholy town. Adieu , my dear friend : you 
shall hear of my future career. 

Mat 0. 

I have paid my visit to my native place with all the 
devotion of a pilgrim, and have experienced many un- 
expected emotions. Near the great elm-tree, which is 
a quarter of a league from the village, I got out of the 
carriage* and sent it on before, that alone, and on foot, 
I might enjoy vividly and heartily all the pleasure of 
my recollections. 1 stood there under that same elm 
which was formerly the term and object of my walks. 
How things have since changed ! Then, in happy 
ignorance, I sighed for a world I did not know, where 
I hoped to find every pleasure and enjoyment which 
my heart could desire ; and now, on my return from 
that wide world, my friend, how many disappointed 
hopes and unsuccessful plans have I brought back I 

As I contemplated the mountains which lay stretched 
out before me, I thought how often they had been the 
object of my dearest desires. Here used 1 to sit for 
hours together with my eyes bent upon them, ardently 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 77 

entered, I perceived that the schoolroom, where our 
childhood had been taught by that good old woman, 
was converted into a shop. I called to mind the sor- 
row, the heaviness, the tears, and oppression of heart, 
which I experienced in that confinement. Every step 
produced some particular impression. A pilgrim in the 
Holy Land does not meet so many spots pregnant with 
tender recollections, and his soul is hardly moved with 
greater devotion. One incident will serve for illustra- 
tion. I followed the course of a stream to a farm, 
formerly a delightful walk of mine, and paused at the 
spot, where, when boys, we used to amuse ourselves 
making ducks and drakes upon the water. I recol- 
lected so well how I used formerly to watch the course 
of that same stream, following it with inquiring eager- 
ness, forming romantic ideas of the countries it was to 
pass through ; but my imagination was soon exhausted : 
while the water continued flowing farther and farther 
on, till my fancy became bewildered by the contempla- 
tion of an invisible distance. Exactly such, my dear 
friend, so happy and so confined, were the thoughts of 
our good ancestors. Their feelings and their poetry 
were fresh as childhood. And, when Ulysses talks of 
the immeasurable sea and boundless earth, his epithets 
are true, natural, deeply felt, and mysterious. Of what 
importance is it that I have learned, with every school- 
boy, that the world is round ? Man needs but little 
earth for enjoyment, and still less for his final reposa 

I am at present with the prince at his hunting- 
lodge. He is a man with whom one can live happily. 
He is honest and unaffected. There are, however, 
some strange characters about him, whom I cannot at 
all understand. They do not seem vicious, and yet 
they do not carry the appearance of thoroughly honest 
men. Sometimes I am disposed to believe them hon- 
est, and yet I cannot persuade myself to confide in 
them. It grieves me to hear the prince occasionally 



7« 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



talk of things which he has only read or beard of, and 
always with the same view in which they have been 
represented by others. 

He values my understanding and talents more highly 
than my heart, but I am proud of the latter only. It 
is the sole source of everything, — of our strength, 
happiness, and misery* All the knowledge I possess 
every one else can acquire, but my heart is exclusively 
my own. 

Mat 25. 
I have had a plan in my head of which I did not 
intend to speak to you until it was accomplished ; now 
that it has failed, I may as well mention it I wished 
to enter the army, and had long been desirous of taking 
the step. This, indeed, was the chief reason for my 
coming here with the prince, as he is a general in the 

— service. I communicated my design to him 

during one of our walks together. He disapproved of 
it, and it would have been actual madness not to have 
listened to his reasons. 



Jtnrc 11. 
Say what you will, I can remain here no longer. 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 79 

I am giving expression to art and nature, he interferes 
with learned suggestions, and uses at random the tech- 
nical phraseology of artists. 

July 16. 
Once more I am a wanderer, a pilgrim, through the 
world. But what else are you ! 

July 18. 
Whither am I going ? I will tell you in confidence. 
I am obliged to continue a fortnight longer here, and 
then I think it would be better for me to visit the 

mines in . But I am only deluding myself thus. 

The fact is, I wish to be near Charlotte again, — that 
is alL I smile at the suggestions of my heart, and 
obey its dictates. 

July 29. 

No, no ! it is yet well — all is well ! I her husband ! 
O God, who gave me being, if thou hadst destined this 
happiness for me, my whole life would have been one 
continual thanksgiving! But I will not murmur — 
forgive these tears, forgive these fruitless wishes. She 
— my wife ! Oh, the very thought of folding that 
dearest of Heaven's creatures in my arms ! Dear Wil- 
helm, my whole frame feels convulsed when I see 
Albert put his arms around her slender waist! 

And shall I avow it? Why should I not, Wil- 
helm? She would have been happier with me than 
with him. Albert is not the man to satisfy the 
wishes of such a heart. He wants a certain sensibil- 
ity ; he wants — in short, their hearts do not beat in 
unison. How often, my dear friend, in reading a pas- 
sage from some interesting book, when my heart and 
Charlotte's seemed to meet, and in a hundred other 
instances when our sentiments were unfolded by the 
story of some fictitious character, have I felt that we 



So 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



were made for each other \ But, dear Wilhelm, he 
loves her with Mb whole soul ; and what does not such 
a love deserve ? 

I have been interrupted by an insufferable viait. I 
have dried my tears, and composed my thoughts. 
Adieu, my best Mend! 

August 4. 
I am not alone unfortunate. All men are disap- 
pointed in their hopes, and deceived in their expecta- 
tions. I have paid a visit to my good old woman 
under the lime-trees. The eldest boy ran out to meet 
me: his exclamation of joy brought out his mother, 
hut she had a very melancholy look. Her first word 
was, u Alas ! dear sir, my little John is deai" He was 
the youngest of her children. I was silent. " And my 
husband has returned from Switzerland without any 
money ; and, if some kind people had not assisted him, 
he must have begged his way home. He was taken 
ill with fever on his journey." I could answer nothing, 
but made the little one a present. She invited me to 
take some fruit : I complied, and left the place with a 
sorrowful heart. 



August 2L 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 81 

such as would occur to some departed prince whose 
spirit should return to visit the superb palace which he 
had built in happy times, adorned with costly magnifi- 
cence, and left to a beloved son, but whose glory he 
should find departed, and its halls deserted and in 
ruins. 

September 3. 
I sometimes cannot understand how she can love 
another, how she dares love another, when I love 
nothing in this world so completely, so devotedly, as I 
love her, when I know only her, and have no other 
possession. 

September 4. 

It is even so ! As nature puts on her autumn tints, 
it becomes autumn with me and around me. My 
leaves are sere and yellow, and the neighbouring trees 
are divested of their foliage. Do you remember my 
writing to you about a peasant boy shortly after my 
arrival here? I have just made inquiries about him 
in Walheim. They say he has been dismissed from 
his service, and is now avoided by every one. I met 
him yesterday on the road, going to a neighbouring 
village. I spoke to him, and he told me his story. It 
interested me exceedingly, as you will easily under- 
stand when I repeat it to you. But why should I 
trouble you ? Why should I not reserve all my sorrow 
for myself ? Why should I continue to give you occa- 
sion to pity and blame me ? But no matter : this also 
is part of my destiny. 

At first the peasant lad answered my inquiries with 
a sort of subdued melancholy, which seemed to me the 
mark of a timid disposition ; but, as we grew to under- 
stand each other, he spoke with less reserve, and openly 
confessed his faults, and lamented his misfortune. I 
wish, my dear friend, I could give proper expression to 



82 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

his language. He told me with a sort of pleasurable 
recollection, that, after my departure, his passion for 
his mistress increased daily, until at last he neither 
knew what he did nor what he said, nor what was to 
become of him. He could neither eat nor drink nor 
sleep : he felt a sense of suffocation ; he disobeyed all 
orders, and forgot all commands involuntarily; he 
seemed as if pursued by an evil spirit, till one day, 
knowing that his mistress had gone to an upper cham- 
ber, he had followed, or, rather, been drawn after her. 
As she proved deaf to his entreaties, he had recourse 
to violence. He knows not what happened; but he 
called God to witness that his intentions to her were 
honourable, and that he desired nothing more sincerely 
than that they should marry, and pass their lives to- 
gether. When he had come to this point, he began to 
hesitate, as if there was something which he had not 
courage to utter, till at length he acknowledged with 
some confusion certain little confidences she had en- 
couraged, and liberties she had allowed. He broke off 
two or three times in his narration, and assured me 
most earnestly that he had no wish to make her bad, 
as he termed it, for he loved her still as sincerely as 
ever ; that the tale had never before escaped his lips, 
and was only now told to convince me that he was not 
utterly lost and abandoned. And here, my dear friend, 
I must commence the old song which you know I 
utter eternally. If I could only represent the man as 
he stood, and stands now before me, — could I only 
give his true expressions, you would feel compelled to 
sympathise in his fate. But enough : you, who know 
my misfortune and my disposition, can easily compre- 
hend the attraction which draws me toward every 
unfortunate being, but particularly toward him whose 
story I have recounted. 

On perusing this letter a second time, I find I have 
omitted the conclusion of my tale; but it is easily 



^L 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 83 

supplied. She became reserved toward him, at the 
instigation of her brother who had long hated him, 
and desired his expulsion from the house, fearing that 
his sister's second marriage might deprive his children 
of the handsome fortune they expected from her; as 
she is childless. He was dismissed at length ; and the 
whole affair occasioned so much scandal, that the mis- 
tress dared not take him back, even if she had wished 
it. She has since hired another servant, with whom, 
they say, her brother is equally displeased, and whom 
she is likely to marry ; but my informant assures me 
that he himself is determined not to survive such a 
catastrophe. 

This story is neither exaggerated nor embellished: 
indeed, I have weakened and impaired it in the narra- 
tion, by the necessity of using the more refined expres- 
sions of society. 

This love, then, this constancy, this passion, is no 
poetical fiction. It is actual, and dwells in its greatest 
purity amongst that class of mankind whom we term 
rude, uneducated. We are the educated, not the per- 
verted ! But read this story with attention, I implore 
you. I am tranquil to-day, for I have been employed 
upon this narration : you see by my writing that I am 
not so agitated as usual. Read and re-read this tale, 
Wilhelm: it is the history of your friend! My for- 
tune has been and will be similar ; and I am neither 
half so brave nor half so determined as the poor wretch 
with whom I hesitate to compare myself. 

September 5. 
Charlotte had written a letter to her husband in the 
country, where he was detained by business. It com- 
menced, " My dearest love, return as soon as possible : 
I await you with a thousand raptures." A friend who 
arrived, brought word, that, for certain reasons, he 
could not return immediately. Charlotte's letter was 



84 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

not forwarded, and the same evening it fell into my 
bands. I read it, and smiled. She asked the reason. 
" What a heavenly treasure is imagination ! " I ex- 
claimed ; " I fancied for a moment that this was writr- 
ten to me" She paused, and seemed displeased* I 
was silent. 



September 6. 

It cost me much to part with the blue coat which 
I wore the first time I danced with Charlotte* But I 
could not possibly wear it any longer. But I have 
ordered a new one, precisely similar, even to the collar 
and sleeves, as well as a new waistcoat and panta- 
loons* 

But it does not produce the same effect upon me. 
I know not how it is, but I hope in time I shall like it 
better. 

September 12* 
She has been absent for some day a She went to 
meet Albert. To-day I visited her: she rose to re- 
ceive me, and I kissed her band most tenderly. 
A canary at the moment flew from a mirror, and 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 85 

* A kiss," I observed, " does not seem to satisfy him : 
he wishes for food, and seems disappointed by these 
unsatisfactory endearments." 

M But he eats out of my mouth," she continued, and 
extended, her lips to him containing seed ; and she 
smiled with all the charm of a being who has allowed 
an innocent participation of her love. 

I turned my face away. She should not act thus. 
She ought not to excite my imagination with such dis- 
plays of heavenly innocence and happiness, nor awaken 
my heart from its slumbers, in which it dreams of the 
worthlessness of life! And why not? Because she 
knows how much I love her. 



September 15. 
It makes me wretched, Wilhelm, to think that there 
should be men incapable of appreciating the few things 
which possess a real value in life. You remember the 

walnut-trees at S , under which I used to sit with 

Charlotte, during my visits to the worthy old vicar. 
Those glorious trees, the very sight of which has so 
often filled my heart with joy, how they adorned and 
refreshed the parsonage yard, with their wide-extended 
branches ! and how pleasing was our remembrance of 
the good old pastor, by whose hands they were planted 
so many years ago ! The schoolmaster has frequently 
mentioned his name. He had it from his grandfather. 
He must have been a most excellent man ; and, under 
the shade of those old trees, his memory was ever ven- 
erated by me. The schoolmaster informed us yester- 
day, with tears in his eyes, that those trees had been 
felled. Yes, cut to the ground ! I could, in my wrath, 
have slain the monster who struck the first stroke. 
And I must endure this ! — I, who, if I had had two 
such trees in my own court, and one had died from 
old age, should have wept with real affliction. But 



36 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



there is some comfort left, — such a tiring is senti- 
ment, — the whole village murmurs at the misfortune ; 
and I hope the vicar's wife will soon find, by the ces- 
sation of the villagers' presents, how much she has 
wounded the feelings of the neighbourhood. It was 
she who did it, — the wife of the present incumbent 
(our good old man is dead), — a tall, sickly creature, 
who is so far right to disregard the world, as the world 
totally disregards her. The silly being affects to be 
learned, pretends to examine the canonical books, lends 
her aid toward the new-fashioned reformation of Chris- 
tendom, moral and critical, and shrugs up her shoulders 
at the mention of Lavater's enthusiasm. Her health 
is destroyed, on account of which she is prevented 
from having any enjoyment here below. Only such 
a creature could have cut down my walnut-trees ! 1 
can never pardon it Hear her reasons. The falling 
leaves made the court wet and dirty ; the branches 
obstructed the light; boys threw stones at the nuts 
when they were ripe, and the noise affected her nerves, 
and disturbed her profound meditations, when she 
was weighing the difficulties of Kennicot, Semler, and 
Michaehs. Finding that all the parish, particularly 
were displeased, I asked " why they 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 87 

October 10. 
Only to gaze upon her dark eyes is to me a source 
of happiness ! And what grieves me, is, that Albert 
does not seem so happy as he — hoped to be — as I 
should have been — if — I am no friend to these 
pauses, but here I cannot express it otherwise; and 
probably I am explicit enough. 

October 12. 
Osaian has superseded Homer in my heart To 
what a world does the illustrious bard carry me ! To 
wander over pathless wilds, surrounded by impetuous 
whirlwinds, where, by the feeble light of the moon, 
we see the spirits of our ancestors ; to hear from the 
mountain-tops, mid the roar of torrents, their plaintive 
sounds issuing from deep caverns, and the sorrowful 
lamentations of a maiden who sighs and expires on 
the mossy tomb of the warrior by whom she was 
adored. I meet this bard with silver hair ; he wan- 
ders in the valley ; he seeks the footsteps of his fathers, 
and, alas ! he finds only their tombs. Then, contem- 
plating the pale moon, as she sinks beneath the waves 
of the rolling sea, the memory of bygone days strikes 
the mind of the hero, — days when approaching dan- 
ger invigorated the brave, and the moon shone upon 
his bark laden with spoils, and returning in triumph. 
When I read in his countenance deep sorrow, when 
I see his dying glory sink exhausted into the grave, as 
he inhales new and heart-thrilling delight from his 
approaching union with his beloved, and he casts a 
look on the cold earth and the tall grass which is so 
soon to cover him, and then exclaims, " The traveller 
will come, — he will come who has seen my beauty, 
and he will ask, ' Where is the bard, — where is the 
illustrious son of Fingal?' He will walk over my 
tomb, and will seek me in vain ! " Then, my friend, 
I could instantly, like a true and noble knight, draw 



ss 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



my sword, and deliver my prince from the long and 
painful languor of a living death, and dismiss my own 
soul to follow the demigod whom my hand had set 
freel 

October 19. 
Alas ! the void — the fearful void, which I feel hi 
my bosom ! Sometimes I think, if I could only once 
— but once, press her to my heart, this dreadful void 
would be filled. 



October 26, 
Yes, I feel certain, Wilhelm, and every day I be- 
come more certain, that the existence of any being 
whatever is of very little consequence, A friend of 
Charlotte's called to see her just now. I withdrew 
into a neighbouring apartment, and took up a book; 
but, finding I could not read, I sat down to write. I 
heard them converse in an undertone : they spoke upon 
indifferent topics, and retailed the news of the town- 
One was going to be married; another was ill, very 
ill, — ahe had a dry cough, her face was growing 

thinner daily, and she had occasional fits. " N- is 

very unwell too," said Charlotte. " His limbs begin to 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 89 

if it could not beat without them ; and yet — if I were 
to die, if I were to be summoned from the midst of 
this circle, would they feel — or how long would they 
feel — the void which my loss would make in their 
existence ? How long ! Yes, such is the frailty of 
man, that even there, where he has the greatest con- 
sciousness of his own being, where he makes the 
strongest and most forcible impression, even in the 
memory, in the heart, of his beloved, there also he 
must perish, — vanish, — and that quickly. 

October 27. 
I could tear open my bosom with vexation to think 
how little we are capable of influencing the feelings of 
each other. No one can communicate to me those 
sensations of love, joy, rapture, and delight which I do 
not naturally possess ; and, though my heart may glow 
with the most lively affection, I cannot make the 
happiness of one in whom the same warmth is not 
inherent 

October 27 : Evening. 
I possess so much, but my love for her absorbs it 
alL I possess so much, but without her I have 
nothing. 

October 80. 
One hundred times have I been on the point of 
embracing her. Heavens ! what a torment it is to see 
so much loveliness passing and repassing before us, 
and yet not dare to lay hold of it!. And laying hold 
is the most natural of human instincts. Do not chil- 
dren touch everything they see ? And I ! 

November 8. 
Witness, Heaven, how often I lie down in my bed 
with a wish, and even a hope, that I may never 
awaken again. And in the morning, when I open my 



9° 



SORROWS OF WERT HER 



eyes, I behold the sun once more, and am wretched, 
If I were whimsical, I might blame the weather, or an 
acquaintance, or some personal disappointment, for my 
discontented mind ; and then this insupportable load 
of trouble would not rest entirely upon myself. But, 
alas 1 I feel it too sadly, I am alone the cause of mj 
own woe, am I not ? Truly, my own bosom contains 
the source of all my sorrow, as it previously contained 
the source of all my pleasure. Am I not the same 
being who once enjoyed an excess of happiness^ who, 
at every step, saw paradise open before him, and whose 
heart was ever expanded toward the whole world ? 
And this heart is now dead, no sentiment can revive 
it ; my eyes are dry ; and my senses, no more refreshed 
by the influence of soft tears, wither and consume my 
brain. I suffer much, for I have lost the only charm 
of life : that active, sacred power which created worlds 
around me, — it is no mora When I look from my 
wiudow at the distant hills, and behold the morning 
sun breaking through the mists, and illuminating the 
country around, which is still wrapped in silence, 
whilst the soft stream winds gently through the wil- 
lows, which have shed their leaves ; when glorious 
nature displays all her beauties before me, and her 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 91 

his gifts with the grateful feelings of a thankful 
heart. 

November 8. 
Charlotte has reproved me for my excesses, with so 
much tenderness and goodness ! I have lately been 
in the habit of drinking more wine than heretofore. 
"Don't do it," she said. "Think of Charlotte!" 
u Think of you ! " I answered ; " need you bid me do 
so ? Think of you — I do not think of you : you are 
ever before my soul ! This very morning I sat on the 
spot where, a few days ago, you descended from the 
carriage, and — " She immediately changed the sub- 
ject to prevent me from pursuing it farther. My dear 
friend, my energies are all prostrated : she can do with 
me what she pleases. 

November 15. 
I thank you, Wilhelm, for your cordial sympathy, 
for your excellent advice; and I implore you to be 
quiet. Leave me to my sufferings. In spite of my 
wretchedness, I have still strength enough for endur- 
ance. I revere religion — you know I do. I feel that 
it can impart strength to the feeble and comfort to the 
afflicted, but does it affect all men equally ? Consider 
this vast universe: you will see thousands for whom 
it has never existed, thousands for whom it will 
never exist, whether it be preached to them, or not ; 
and must it, then, necessarily exist for me? Does 
not the Son of God himself say that they are his 
whom the Father has given to him ? Have I been 
given to him ? What if the Father will retain me for 
himself, as my heart sometimes suggests ? I pray you, 
do not misinterpret this. Do not extract derision 
from my harmless words. I pour out my whole soul 
before you. Silence were otherwise preferable to me, 
but I need not shrink from a subject of which few 
know more than I do myself. What is the destiny of 



9 2 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



man, but to till up the measure of his sufferings, and 
to drink his allotted cup of bitterness ? And if that 
same cup proved bitter to the God of heaven, under 
a human form, why should I affect a foolish pride, 
and call it sweet ? Why should I be ashamed of 
shrinking at that fearful moment, when my whole 
being will tremble between existence and annihilation, 
when a remembrance of the past, like a flash of light- 
ning, will illuminate the dark gulf of futurity, when 
everything shall dissolve around me, and the whole 
world vanish away ? Is not this the voice of a creature 
oppressed beyond all resource, self-deficient, about to 
plunge into inevitable destruction, and groaning deeply 
at its inadequate strength, ** My God t my God I why 
hast thou forsaken me ? ™ And should T feel ashamed 
to utter the same expression ? Should I not shudder 
at a prospect which had its fears, even for him who 
folds up the heavens like a garment ? 



November 21. 
She does not feel* she does not know, that she is 
preparing a poison which will destroy us both ; and I 

drink deeply of the draught which is to prove my 
destruction. What mean those looks of kindness with 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 93 

November 22. 
I cannot pray, "Leave her to me!" and yet she 
often seems to belong to me. I cannot pray, " Give 
her tome!" for she is another's. In this way I affect 
mirth over my troubles ; and, if I had time, I could 
compose a whole litany of antitheses. 

November 24. 
She is sensible of my sufferings. This morning her 
look pierced my very soul. I found her alone, and she 
was silent : she steadfastly surveyed me. I no longer 
saw in her face the charms of beauty or the fire of 
genius : these had disappeared. But I was affected by 
an expression much more touching, a look of the 
deepest sympathy and of the softest pity. Why was I 
afraid to throw myself at her feet ? Why did I not 
dare to take her in my arms, and answer her by a thou- 
sand kisses ? She had recourse to her piano for relief, 
and in a low and sweet voice accompanied the music 
with delicious sounds. Her lips never appeared so 
lovely : they seemed but just to open, that they might 
imbibe the sweet tones which issued from the instru- 
ment, and return the heavenly vibration from her 
lovely mouth. Oh ! who can express my sensations ? 
I was quite overcome, and, bending down, pronounced 
this vow: "Beautiful lips, which the angels guard, 
never will I seek to profane your purity with a kiss." 
And yet, my friend, oh, I wish — but my heart is 
darkened by doubt and indecision — could I but taste 
felicity, and then die to expiate the sin! What 
sin? 

November 26. 
Oftentimes I say to myself, "Thou alone art 
wretched: all other mortals are happy, — none are 
distressed like thee ! " Then I read a passage in an an- 
cient poet, and I seem to understand my own heart 




94 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



I have so much to endure ! 
been so wretched ? 



Have men before me ever 



November 30. 

I shall never be myself again ! Wherever I go, some 
fatality occurs to distract ine. Even to-day — alas for 
our destiny ! alas for human nature ! 

About dinner-time I went to walk by the river-aide^ 
for I bad no appetite. Everything around seemed 
gloomy: a cold and damp easterly wind blew from the 
mountains, and black, heavy clouds spread over the 
plain. I observed at a distance a man in a tattered 
coat : he was wandering among the rocks, and seemed 
to be looking for plants. When 1 approached , he 
turned round at the noise; and I saw that he had an 
interesting countenance in which a settled melancholy, 
strongly marked by benevolence, formed the principal 
feature, His long black hair was divided, and flowed 
over his shoulders. As his garb betokened a person of 
the lower order, I thought he would not take it ill if I 
inquired about his business ; and I therefore asked 
what he was seeking, He replied, with a deep sigh, 
that he was looking for flowers, and could find none. 
" Rut it is not the season," I observed, with a smila 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 95 

he had promised to gather a nosegay for his mistress. 
" That is right," said L " Oh ! " he replied, " she pos- 
sesses many other things as well: she is very rich." 
"And yet," I continued, "she likes your nosegays." 
"Oh, she has jewels and crowns!" he exclaimed. I 
asked who she waa " If the states-general would but 
pay me," he added, " I should be quite another man. 
Alas ! there was a time when I was so happy ; but that 
is past, and I am now — " He raised his swimming 
eyes to heaven. " And you were happy once ? " I ob- 
served. " Ah, would I were so still !" was his reply. 
" I was then as gay and contented as a man can be." An 
old woman, who was coming toward us, now called 
out, " Henry, Henry ! where are you ? We have been 
looking for you everywhere : come to dinner." " Is 
he your son?" I inquired, as I went toward her. 
" Yes," she said : " he is my poor, unfortunate son. The 
Lord has sent me a heavy affliction." I asked whether 
he had been long in this state. She answered, "He 
has been as calm as he is at present for about six 
months. I thank Heaven that he has so far recovered : 
he was for one whole year quite raving, and chained 
down in a madhouse. Now he injures no one, but 
talks of nothing else than kings and queens. He used 
to be a very good, quiet youth, and helped to maintain 
me; he wrote a very fine hand; but all at once he 
became melancholy, was seized with a violent fever, 
grew distracted, and is now as you see. If I were only 
to tell you, sir — " I interrupted her by asking what 
period it was in which he boasted of having been so 
happy. " Poor boy ! " she exclaimed, with a smile of 
compassion, "he means the time when he was com- 
pletely deranged, — a time he never ceases to regret, — 
when he was in the madhouse, and unconscious of 
everything." I was thunderstruck: I placed a piece 
of money in her hand, and hastened away. 

"You were happy. 1 " I exclaimed, as I returned 



9 6 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



quickly to the town, ■ J as gay and contented as a man 
can be I ' " God of heaven" t and \s this the destiny of 
man ? Is he only happy before he has acquired his 
reason, or after he has lost it? Unfortunate being I 
And yet I envy your fate: I envy the delusion to 
which you are a victim. You go forth with joy to 
gather flowers for your princess, — in winter, — and 
grieve when you can find none, and cannot understand 
why they do not grow. But I wander forth without joy, 
without hope, without desrign ; and I return as I came. 
You fancy what a man you would be if the states- 
general paid you, Happy mortal, who can asciibe 
your wretchedness to an earthly cause! You do not 
know, you do not feel, that in your own distracted 
heart and disordered brain dwells the source of that 
unhappiness which all the potentates on earth cannot 
relieve. 

Let that man die unconsoled who can deride the 
invalid for undertaking a journey to distant, healthful 
springs, — where be often finds only a heavier disease 
and a more painful death, — or who can exult over the 
despairing mind of a sinner, who, to obtain peace of 
conscience and an alleviation of misery, makes a pil- 
grimage to the Holy Sepulchre. Each laborious step 



" She -u\is pl-iyiihi ///•<"■/ //••/' puno " 

Photogravure fr«un tl.r painting l*y II. K.iuih.u h 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 97 

— who wert once wont to fill my soul, but who now 
hidest thy face from me, — call me back to thee; be 
silent no longer; thy silence shall not delay a soul 
which thirsts after thee. What man, what father, 
could be angry with a son for returning to him sud- 
denly, for falling on his neck, and exclaiming, " I am 
here again, my father ! forgive me if I have anticipated 
my journey, and returned before the appointed time I 
The world is everywhere the same, — a scene of labour 
and pain, of pleasure and reward ; but what does it all 
avail ? I am happy only where thou art, and in thy 
presence am I content to suffer or enjoy." And wouldst 
thou, heavenly Father, banish such a child from thy 
presence? 

December 1. 
Wilhelm, the man about whom I wrote to you — 
that man so enviable in his misfortunes — was secre- 
tary to Charlotte's father; and an unhappy passion 
for her which he cherished, concealed, and at length 
discovered, caused him to be dismissed from his situa- 
tion. This made him mad. Think, whilst you peruse 
this plain narration, what an impression the circum- 
stance has made upon me ! But it was related to me 
by Albert with as much calmness as you will probably 
peruse it. 

December 4. 
I implore your attention. It is all over with me. 
I can support this state no longer. To-day I was 
sitting by Charlotte. She was playing upon her piano 
a succession of delightful melodies, with such intense 
expression ! Her little sister was dressing her doll 
upon my lap. The tears came into my eyes. I leaned 
down, and looked intently at her wedding-ring: my 
tears fell — immediately she began to play that fa- 
vourite, that divine, air which has so often enchanted 




9 8 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



me, I felt comfort from a recollection of the past, of 
those bygone days when that air was familiar to me ; 
and then I recalled all the sorrows and the disappoint- 
ments which I had since endured* I paced with hasty 
strides through the room, my heart became convulsed 
with painful emotions. At length I went up to her, 
and exclaimed with eagerness, " For Heaven's sake, 
play that air no longer!" She stopped, and looked 
steadfastly at me. She then said, with a smile which 
sunk deep into my heart, " Werther, yon are ill : your 
dearest food is distasteful to you. But go, I entreat 
you, and endeavour to compose yourself," I tore my- 
self away. God, thou seest my torments, and wilt end 
them 1 



December 6. 

How her image haunts me ! Waking or asleep, she 
fills my entire soul 1 Soon as I close my eyes, here, 
in my brain, where all the nerves of vision are concen- 
trated, her dark eyes are imprinted. Here — I do not 
know how to describe it ; but, if I shut my eyes, hers 
are immediately before me : dark as an abyss they 
open upon me, and absorb my senses. 

And what is man — that boasted demigod ? Do not 



THE EDITOR TO THE READER 

It is a matter of extreme regret that we want orig- 
inal evidence of the last remarkable days of our friend ; 
and we are, therefore, obliged to interrupt the progress 
of his correspondence, and to supply the deficiency by 
a connected narration. 

I have felt it my duty to collect accurate informa- 
tion from the mouths of persons well acquainted with 
his history. The story is simple ; and all the accounts 
agree, except in some unimportant particulars. It is 
true, that, with respect to the characters of the persons 
spoken of, opinions and judgments vary. 

We have only, then, to relate conscientiously the 
facts which our diligent labour has enabled us to col- 
lect, to give the letters of the deceased, and to pay 
particular attention to the slightest fragment from his 
pen, more especially as it is so difficult to discover the 
real and correct motives of men who are not of the 
common order. 

Sorrow and discontent had taken deep root in Wer- 
ther's soul, and gradually imparted their character to his 
whole being. The harmony of his mind became com- 
pletely disturbed; a perpetual excitement and mental 
irritation, which weakened his natural powers, produced 
the saddest effects upon him, and rendered him at length 
the victim of an exhaustion against which he struggled 
with still more painful efforts than he had displayed, 
even in contending with his other misfortunes. His 
mental anxiety weakened his various good qualities; 
and he was soon converted into a gloomy companion, 
— always unhappy and unjust in his ideas, the more 

99 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



wretched he became. This was, at least, the opinion 
of Albert's friends. They assert, moreover, that the 
character of Albert himself had undergone no change 
in the meantime : he was still the same being whom 
Werther had loved, honoured, and respected from the 
commencement. His love for Charlotte was unbounded : 
he was proud of her, and desired that she should be 
recognised by every one as the noblest of created 
beings. Was he, however, to blame for wishing to 
avert from her every appearance of suspicion ? or for 
his unwillingness to share his rich prize with another, 
even for a moment, and in the most innocent manner ? 
It is asserted that Albert frequently retired from his 
wife's apartment during Werther 's visits ; but this did 
not arise from hatred or aversion to his friend, but 
only from a feeling that his presence was oppressive 
to Werther. 

Charlotte's father, who was confined to the house by 
indisposition, was accustomed to send his carriage for 
her, that she might make excursions in the neighbour- 
hood. One day the weather had been unusually severe, 
and the whole country was covered with snow. 

Werther went for Charlotte the following morning, 
in order that, if Albert were absent, he might conduct 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 101 

" Yes," he would repeat to himself, with ill-concealed 
dissatisfaction, "yes, this is, after all, the extent of 
that confiding, dear, tender, and sympathetic love, that 
calm and eternal fidelity ! What do I behold but 
satiety and indifference ? Does not every frivolous 
engagement attract him more than his charming and 
lovely wife ? Does he know how to prize his happi- 
ness? Can he value her as she deserves? He pos- 
sesses her, it is true, — I know that, as I know much 
more, — and I have become accustomed to the thought 
that he will drive me mad, or, perhaps, murder me. 
Is his friendship toward me unimpaired? Does he 
not view my attachment to Charlotte as an infringe- 
ment upon his rights, and consider my attention 
to her as a silent rebuke to himself? I know, and 
indeed feel, that he dislikes me, — that he wishes 
for my absence, — that my presence is hateful to 
him." 

He would often pause when on his way to visit 
Charlotte, stand still, as though in doubt, and seem 
desirous of returning, but would nevertheless proceed ; 
and, engaged in such thoughts and soliloquies as we 
have described, he finally reached the hunting-lodge, 
with a sort of involuntary consent. 

Upon one occasion he entered the house; and, in- 
quiring for Charlotte, he observed that the inmates 
were in a state of unusual confusion. The eldest boy 
informed him that a dreadful misfortune had occurred 
at Walheim, — that a peasant had been murdered! 
But this made little impression upon him. Entering 
the apartment, he found Charlotte engaged reasoning 
with her father, who, in spite of his infirmity, insisted 
on going to the scene of the crime, in order to institute 
an inquiry. The criminal was unknown ; the victim 
had been found dead at his own door that morning. 
Suspicions were excited : the murdered man had been 
in the service of a widow, and the person who had 




SORROWS OF WERTHER 



previously filled the situation had been dismissed 
from her employment. 

As soon as Werther heard this, he exclaimed with 
great excitement, w Is it possible ! I must go to the 
spot — I cannot delay a moment ! " He hastened to 
Walheim. Every incident returned vividly to his 
remembrance ; and he entertained not the slightest 
doubt that that man was the murderer to whom he 
had so often spoken, and for whom he entertained so 
much regard. His way took bim past the well-known 
lime-trees, to the house where the body had been 
carried; and his feelings were greatly excited at the 
sight of the fondly recollected spot. That threshold 
where the neighbours* children had so often played 
together was stained with blood ; love and attachment, 
the noblest feelings of human nature, had been con- 
verted into violence and murder. The huge trees 
stood there leafless and covered with hoarfrost ; the 
beautiful hedgerows which surrounded the old church- 
yard wall were withered ; and the gravestones, half 
covered with snow, were visible through the openings. 

As he approached the inn, m front of which the 
whole village was assembled, screams were suddenly 
heard. A troop of armed peasants was seen approach- 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 103 

The mind of Werther was fearfully excited by this 
shocking occurrence. He ceased, however, to be op- 
pressed by his usual feeling of melancholy, moroseness, 
and indifference to everything that passed around him. 
He entertained a strong degree of pity for the prisoner, 
and was seized with an indescribable anxiety to save 
him from his impending fata He considered him so 
unfortunate, he deemed his crime so excusable, and 
thought his own condition so nearly similar, that he 
felt convinced he could make every one else view the 
matter in the light in which he saw it himself. He 
now became anxious to undertake his defence, and 
commenced composing an eloquent speech for the occa- 
sion ; and, on his way to the hunting-lodge, he could 
not refrain from speaking aloud the statement which 
he resolved to make to the judge. 

Upon his arrival, he found Albert had been before 
him : and he was a little perplexed by this meeting ; 
but he soon recovered himself, and expressed his 
opinion with much warmth to the judge. The latter 
shook his head doubtingly ; and although Werther 
urged his case with the utmost zeal, feeling, and de- 
termination in defence of his client, yet, as we may 
easily suppose, the judge was not much influenced by 
his appeal. On the contrary, he interrupted him in his 
address, reasoned with him seriously, and even ad- 
ministered a rebuke to him for becoming the advocate 
of a murderer. He demonstrated, that, according to 
this precedent, every law might be violated, and the 
public security utterly destroyed. He added, more- 
over, that in such a case he could himself do noth- 
ing, without incurring the greatest responsibility ; that 
everything must follow in the usual course, and pursue 
the ordinary channel. 

Werther, however, did not abandon his enterprise, 
and even besought the judge to connive at the flight of 
the prisoner. But this proposal was peremptorily re- 



io4 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



jected, Albert, who bad taken some part in the. 
discussion, coincided in opinion with the judge. At 
this Werther became enraged, and took his leave in 
great anger, after the judge had more than once assured 
him that the prisoner could not be saved. 

The excess of his grief at this assurance may be in- 
ferred from a note we have found amongst his papers, 
and which was doubtless written upon this very oc- 
casion. 



* You cannot be saved, unfortunate man ! 
clearly that we cannot be saved ! * 



I see 



Werther was highly incensed at the observations 
which Albert had made to the judge in this matter 
of the prisoner. He thought he could detect therein 
a little bitterness toward himself personally ; and 
although, upon reflection, it could not escape his sound 
judgment that their view of the matter was correct, he 
felt the greatest possible reluctance to make such an 
admission. 

A memorandum of Werther's upon this point, ex- 
pressive of his general feelings toward Albert, has been 
found amongst his papers. 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 105 

wished it were possible to discontinue his acquaintance. 
a I desire it on our own account," he added; "and 
I request you will compel him to alter his deportment 
toward you, and to visit you less frequently. The 
world is censorious, and I know that here and there we 
are spoken of." Charlotte made no reply, and Albert 
seemed to feel her silence. At least, from that time, 
he never again spoke of Werther; and, when she 
introduced the subject, he allowed the conversation to 
die away, or else he directed the discourse into another 
channel 

The vain attempt Werther had made to save the 
unhappy murderer was the last feeble glimmering of a 
flame about to be extinguished. He sank almost im- 
mediately afterward into a state of gloom and inac- 
tivity, until he was at length brought to perfect 
distraction by learning that he was to be summoned as 
a witness against the prisoner, who asserted his com- 
plete innocence. 

His mind now became oppressed by the recollection 
of every misfortune of his past life. The mortification 
he had suffered at the ambassador's, and his subsequent 
troubles, were revived in his memory. He became 
utterly inactive. Destitute of energy, he was cut off 
from every pursuit and occupation which compose the 
business of common life; and he became a victim to 
his own susceptibility, and to his restless passion for 
the most amiable and beloved of women, whose peace 
he destroyed. In this unvarying monotony of exist- 
ence his days were consumed ; and his powers became 
exhausted without aim or design, until they brought 
him to a sorrowful end. 

A few letters which he left behind, and which we 
here subjoin, afford the best proofs of his anxiety 
of mind and of the depth of his passion, as well as 
of his doubts and struggles, and of his weariness of 
life. 




io6 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



December 12. 

Dear Wilhelm, I am reduced to the condition of 
those unfortunate wretches who believe they are pur- 
sued by an evil spirit. Sometimes I am oppressed, not 
by apprehension or fear, but by an inexpressible in- 
ternal sensation, which weighs upon my heart, and 
impedes my breath ! Then I wander forth at night, 
even in this tempestuous season, and feel pleasure in 
surveying the dreadful scenes around me. 

Yesterday evening I went forth. A rapid thaw had 
suddenly set in: I had been informed that the river 
had risen, that the brooks had all overflowed their 
banks, and that the whole vale of Walheiin was under 
water ! Upon the stroke of twelve I hastened forth. 
I beheld a fearful sight. The foaming torrents rolled 
from the mountains in the moonlight, — fields and 
meadows, trees and hedges, were cou founded together ; 
and the entire valley was converted into a deep lake, 
which was agitated by the roaring wind ! And when 
the moon shone forth, and tinged the black clouds with 
silver, and the impetuous torrent at my feet foamed 
and resounded with awful and grand impetuosity, I 
was overcome by a mingled sensation of apprehension 
and delight. With extended arms I looked down into 



JAfi 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 107 

with water, and with difficulty I found even the 
meadow. And the fields ^around the hunting-lodge, 
thought I. Has our dear bower been destroyed by 
this unpitying storm ? And a beam of past happiness 
streamed upon me, as the mind of a captive is 
illumined by dreams of flocks and herds and bygone 
joys of home ! But I am free from blame. I have 
courage to die ! Perhaps I have, — but I still sit here, 
like a wretched pauper, who collects fagots, and begs 
her bread from door to door, that she may prolong for 
a few days a miserable existence which she is un- 
willing to resign. 

December 15. 

What is the matter with me, dear Wilhelm ? I am 
afraid of myself ! Is not my love for her of the purest, 
most holy, and most brotherly nature ? Has my soul 
ever been sullied by a single sensual desire ? but I will 
make no protestations. And now, ye nightly visions, 
how truly have those mortals understood you, who 
ascribe your various contradictory effects to some in- 
vincible power ! This night — I tremble at the avowal 
— I held her in my arms, locked in a close embrace : I 
pressed her to my bosom, and covered with countless 
kisses those dear lips which murmured in reply soft 
protestations of love. My sight became confused by the 
delicious intoxication of her eyes. Heavens ! is it sin- 
ful to revel again in such happiness, to recall once more 
those rapturous moments with intense delight ? Char- 
lotte ! Charlotte ! I am lost ! My senses are bewildered, 
my recollection is confused, mine eyes are bathed in 
tears — I am ill ; and yet I am well — I wish for 
nothing — I have no desires — it were better I were 
gone. 

Under the circumstances narrated above, a determi- 
nation to quit this world had now taken fixed posses- 
sion of Werther's soul. Since Charlotte's return, this 



108 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

thought had been the final object of all his hopes and 
wishes; but he had resolved that such a step should 
not be taken with precipitation, but with calmness and 
tranquillity, and with the most perfect deliberation. 

His troubles and internal struggles may be under- 
stood from the following fragment, which was found, 
without any date, amongst his papers, and appears to 
have formed the beginning of a letter to Wilhelm. 

" Her presence, her fate, her sympathy for me, have 
power still to extract tears from my withered brain. 

" One lifts up the curtain, and passes to the other 
side, — that is all! And why all these doubts and 
delays ? Because we know not what is behind — 
because there is no returning — and because our 
mind infers that all is darkness and confusion, where 
we have nothing but uncertainty." 

His appearance at length became quite altered by 
the effect of his melancholy thoughts ; and his resolu- 
tion was now finally and irrevocably taken, of which 
the following ambiguous letter, which he addressed 
to his friend, may appear to afford some proof. 

December 20. 

I am grateful to your love, Wilhelm, for having 
repeated your advice so seasonably. Yes, you are 
right: it is undoubtedly better that I should depart 
But I do not entirely approve your scheme of return- 
ing at once to your neighbourhood ; at least, I should 
like to make a little excursion on the way, particularly 
as we may now expect a continued frost, and conse- 
quently good roads. I am much pleased with your 
intention of coming to fetch me; only delay your 
journey for a fortnight, and wait for another letter 
from me. One should gather nothing before it is 
ripe, and a fortnight sooner or later makes a great 



■\ 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 109 

difference. Entreat my mother to pray for her son, 
and tell her I beg her pardon for all the unhappiness 
I have occasioned her. It has ever been my fate to 
give pain to those whose happiness I should have pro- 
moted. Adieu, my dearest friend. May every bless- 
ing of Heaven attend you ! Farewell 

We find it difficult to express the emotions with 
which Charlotte's soul was agitated during the whole 
of this time, whether in relation to her husband or 
to her unfortunate friend; although we are enabled, 
by our knowledge of her character, to understand their 
nature. 

It is certain that she had formed a determination, 
by every means in her power to keep Werther at a 
distance ; and, if she hesitated in her decision, it was 
from a sincere feeling of friendly pity, knowing how 
much it would cost hiip, — indeed, that he would find 
it almost impossible to comply with her wishes. But 
various causes now urged her to be firm. Her husband 
preserved a strict silence about the whole matter ; and 
she never made it a subject of conversation, feeling 
bound to prove to him by her conduct that her senti- 
ments agreed with his. 

The same day, which was the Sunday before Christ- 
mas, after Werther had written the last-mentioned 
letter to his friend, he came in the evening to Char- 
lotte's house, and found her alone. She was busy pre- 
paring some little gifts for her brothers and sisters, 
which were to be distributed to them on Christmas 
Day. He began talking of the delight of the children, 
and of that age when the sudden appearance of the 
Christmas-tree, decorated with fruit and sweetmeats, 
and lighted up with wax candles, causes such trans- 
ports of joy. "You shall have a gift too, if you 
behave well," said Charlotte, hiding her embarrassment 
under a sweet smile. " And what do you call behav- 



to 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



|ug well ? What should I do, what can I do, my dear 
[Charlotte ? '* said he. " Thursday night " she answered, 
y* is Christmas Eve. The children are all to be here, 
and my father too : there is a present for each ; do 
you come likewise, but do Dot come before that time," 
Werther started, u I desire you will cot : it must be 
so," she continued* M 1 ask it of you as a favour, for 
my own peace and tranquillity. We cannot go on in 
this manner any longer/' He turned away his face, 
walked hastily up and down the room, muttering 
indistinctly, ** We cannot go on in this manner any 
longer!" Charlotte, seeing the violent agitation into 
which these words had thrown him, endeavoured to 
divert his thoughts by different questions, but in vain, 
** No, Charlotte ! " he exclaimed \ " I will never see 
you any more ! " " And why so ? " she answered. 
" We may — we must see each other again ; only let 
it be with more discretion. Oh ! why were you born 
with that excessive, that ungovernable passion for 
everything that is dear to you ? • Then, taking his 
hand, she said, "I entreat of you to be more calm: 
your talents, your understanding, your genius, wiU 
furnish you with a thousand resources. Be a man, 
juer an unhappy attachment toward a creature 
Fou," He bit his lips, 
She 



SORROWS OF WERTHER in 

reflection that any one might easily make/' she 
answered; "and is there not a woman in the whole 
world who is at liberty, and has the power to make 
you happy ? Conquer yourself : look for such a being, 
and believe me when I say that you will certainly find 
her. I have long felt for you, and for us all: you 
have confined yourself too long within the limits of too 
narrow a circle. Conquer yourself; make an effort: 
a short journey will be of service to you. Seek and 
find an object worthy of your love ; then return hither, 
and let us enjoy together all the happiness of the most 
perfect friendship." 

"This speech," replied Werther with a cold smile, 
"this speech should be printed, for the benefit of all 
teachers. My dear Charlotte, allow me but a short 
time longer, and all will be well" "But however, 
Werther," she added, "do not come again before 
Christmas." He was about to make some answer, 
when Albert came in. They saluted each other coldly, 
and with mutual embarrassment paced up and down 
the room. Werther made some common remarks; 
Albert did the same, and their conversation soon 
dropped. Albert asked his wife about some house- 
hold matters ; and, finding that his commissions were 
not executed, he used some expressions which, to 
Werther's ear, savoured of extreme harshness. He 
wished to go, but had not power to move ; and in this 
situation he remained till eight o'clock, his uneasiness 
and discontent continually increasing. At length the 
cloth was laid for supper, and he took up his hat and 
stick. Albert invited him to remain; but Werther, 
fancying that he was merely paying a formal compli- 
ment, thanked him coldly, and left the house. 

Werther returned home, took the candle from his 
servant, and retired to his room alona He talked for 
some time with great earnestness to himself, wept 
aloud, walked in a state of great excitement through 



I I 2 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



his chamber; till at length, without undressing, he 
threw himsel! on the bed, where he was found by his 
servant at eleven o'clock, when the latter ventured to 
enter the room, and take off his boots, Werther did 
not prevent him, but forbade him to come in the morn- 
ing till he should ring. 

On Monday morning, the 21st of December, he 
wrote to Charlotte the following letter, which was 
found, sealed, on his bureau after Ins death, and was 
given to her. I shall insert it in fragments ; as it 
appears, from several circumstances, to have been 
written in that manner. 



"It is all over, Charlotte: I am resolved to die I 
I make this declaration deliberately and coolly, with- 
out any romantic passion, on this morning of the day 
when I am to see you for the last time. At the 
moment you read these lines, O best of women, the 
cold grave will hold the inanimate remains of that 
restless and unhappy being who, in the last moments 
of his existence, knew no pleasure so great as that 
of conversing with you! I have passed a dreadful 
night — or rather, let me say, a propitious one ; for 
it has given me resolution, it has fixed my purpose. 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 113 

I have filled up the measure of my sufferings, that I 
have reached my appointed term, and must sacrifice 
myself for thee. Yes, Charlotte, why should I not 
avow it? One of us three must die: it shall be 
Werther. beloved Charlotte! this heart, excited 
by rage and fury, has often conceived the horrid idea 
of murdering your husband — you — myself! The 
lot is cast at length. And in the bright, quiet even- ' 
ings of summer, when you sometimes wander toward 
the mountains, let your thoughts then turn to me: 
recollect how often you have watched me coming to 
meet you from the valley ; then bend your eyes upon 
the churchyard which contains my grave, and, by the 
light of the setting sun, mark how the evening breeze 
waves the tall grass which grows above my tomb. I 
was calm when I began this letter, but the recollec- 
tion of these scenes makes me weep like a child." 

About ten in the morning, Werther called his ser- 
vant, and, whilst he was dressing, told him that in 
a few days he intended to set out upon a journey, and 
bade him therefore lay his clothes in order, and prepare 
them for packing up, call in all his accounts, fetch 
home the books he had lent, and give two months' 
pay to the poor dependants who were accustomed to 
receive from him a weekly allowance. 

He breakfasted in his room, and then mounted his 
horse, and went to visit the steward, who, however, 
was not at home. He walked pensively in the garden, 
and seemed anxious to renew all the ideas that were 
most painful to him. 

The children did not suffer him to remain alone 
long. They followed him, skipping and dancing before 
him, and told him, that after to-morrow — and to- 
morrow — and one day more, they were to receive 
their Christmas gift from Charlotte; and they then 
recounted all the wonders of which they had formed 




114 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



ideas in their child imaginations. " To-morrow — and 
tomorrow," said he, " and one day more ! " And he 
kissed them tenderly. He was going ; but the younger 
boy stopped him, to whisper something in his ear. 
He told him that his elder brothers had written splen- 
did New- Year's wishes — so large ! — one for papa, and 
another for Albert and Charlotte, and one for Werther ; 
and they were to be presented early in the morning, 
on New Year's Day, This quite overcame him. He 
made each of the children a present, mounted his 
horse, left his compliments for papa and mamma, and, 
with tears in his eyes, rode away from the place. 

He returned home about five o'clock, ordered his ser- 
vant to keep up his fire, desired him to pack his books 
and linen at the bottom of the trunk, and to place his 
coats at the top. He then appears to have made the 
following addition to the letter addressed to Charlotte : 



* You do not expect me. You think I will obey 

you, and not visit you again till Christmas Eve. O 
Charlotte, to-day or never \ On Christmas Eve you 
will hold this paper in your hand ; you will tremble, 
and moisten it with your tears. I mil — I must ! 
Oh, how happy I feel to be determined!'* 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 115 

were near, and she gave herself up to the reflections 
that silently took possession of her mind. She was 
for ever united to a husband whose love and fidelity 
she had proved, to whom she was heartily devoted, 
and who seemed to be a special gift from Heaven to 
ensure her happiness. On the other hand, Werther 
had become dear to her. There was a cordial unanim- 
ity of sentiment between them from the very first hour 
of their acquaintance, and their long association and 
repeated interviews had made an indelible impression 
upon her heart. She had been accustomed to com- 
municate to him every thought and feeling which 
interested her, and his absence threatened to open a 
void in her existence which it might be impossible to 
fill. How heartily she wished that she might change 
him into her brother, — that she could induce him to 
marry one of her own friends, or could reestablish his 
intimacy with Albert. 

She passed all her intimate friends in review before 
her mind, but found something objectionable in each, 
and could decide upon none to whom she would con- 
sent to give him. 

Amid all these considerations she felt deeply but 
indistinctly that her own real but unexpressed wish 
was to retain him for herself, and her pure and amiable 
heart felt from this thought a sense of oppression 
which seemed to forbid a prospect of happiness. She 
was wretched: a dark cloud obscured her mental 
vision. 

It was now half-past six o'clock, and she heard 
Werther's step on the stairs. She at once recognised 
his voice, as he inquired if she were at home. Her 
heart beat audibly — we could almost say for the first 
time — at his arrival It was too late to deny herself ; 
and, as he entered, she exclaimed, with a sort of ill- 
concealed confusion, " You have not kept your word ! " 
" I promised nothing," he answered. " But you should 



u6 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



have complied, at least for my sake" she continued. 
" I implore you, for both oar sake&" 

She scarcely knew what she said or did, and sent 
for some friends, who, by their presence, might prevent 
her being left alone with Werther. He put down 
some books he had brought with him, then made in- 
quiries about some others, until she began to hope that 
her friends might arrive shortly, entertaining at the 
same time a desire that they might stay away. 

At one moment she felt anxious that the servant 
should remain in the adjoining room, then she changed 
her mind* Werther, meanwhile, walked impatiently 
up and down, She went to the piano, and determined 
not to retire. She then collected her thoughts, and 
sat down quietly at Werther 1 s side, who had taken 
his usual place ou the sofa. 

" Have you brought nothing to read ?" she inquired. 
He had nothing "There in my drawer," she con- 
tinued, "you will find your own translation of some 
of the songs of Ossian, I have not yet read them, as 
I have still hoped to hear you recite them ; but* for 
some time past, I have not been able to accomplish 
such a wish," He smiled, and went for the manuscript, 
which he took with a shudder. He sat down; and, 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 117 

" And it does arise in its strength ! I behold my 
departed friends. Their gathering is on Lora, as in 
the days of other years. Fingal comes like a watery 
column of mist! his heroes are around: and see the 
bards of song, gray-haired Ullin ! stately Eyno ! Alpin 
with the tuneful voice ! the soft complaint of Minona ! 
How are ye changed, my friends, since the days of 
Selma's feast ! when we contended, like gales of spring 
as they fly along the hill, and bend by turns the 
feebly whistling grass. 

« Minona came forth in her beauty, with downcast 
look and tearful eye. Her hair was flying slowly with 
the blast that rushed unfrequent from the hill. The 
souls of the heroes were sad when she raised the tune- 
ful voice. Oft had they seen the grave of Salgar, the 
dark dwelling of white-bosomed Colma. Colma left 
alone on the hill with all her voice of song ! Salgar 
promised to come! but the night descended around. 
Hear the voice of Colma, when she sat alone on the 
hill! 

" Colma. It is night : I am alone, forlorn on the 
hill of storms. The wind is heard on the mountain. 
The torrent is howling down the rock. No hut receives 
me from the rain : forlorn on the hill of winds !' 

" Eise moon ! from behind thy clouds. Stars of the 
night, arise ! Lead me, some light, to the place where 
my love rests from the chase alone! His bow near 
him unstrung, his dogs panting around him ! But 
here I must sit alone by the rock of the mossy stream. 
The stream and the wind roar aloud. I hear not the 
voice of my love! Why delays my Salgar; why 
the chief of the hill his promise? Here is the rock 
and here the tree ! here is the roaring stream ! Thou 
didst promise with night to be here. Ah ! whither is 
my Salgar gone? With thee I would fly from my 
father, with thee from my brother of pride. Our race 
have long been foes : we are not foes, Salgar ! 





m^MMg^^^J ^^ ^.^ 


118 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

■ Cease a little while, wind ! stream, be thou silent 
awhile 1 let my voice be heard around 3 let my wan- 
derer hear me 1 Salgar 1 it is Colma who calls. Here 
is the tree and the rock* Salgar, my love, I am here ! 
Why delay est thou thy coming ? Lo I the calm moon 
comes forth. The flood is bright in the vale. The 
rocks are gray on the steep. I see him not on the 
brow. His dogs come not before him with tidings 
of his near approach. Here I must sit alone 1 

u Who lie on the heath beside me? Are they my 
love and my brother ? Speak to me, my friends ! 
To Colma they give no reply. Speak to me : I am 
alone f My soul is tormented with fears. Ah, they 
are dead ! Their swords are red from the tight. 
my brother! my brother! why hast thou slain my 
Salgar 1 Why, Salgar, hast thou slain my brother 1 
Dear were ye both to me I what shall I say in your 
praise ? Thou wert fair on the hill among thousands I 
he was terrible in fight ! Speak to me I hear my voice ! 
hear me, sons of my love ! They are silent ! silent 
for ever ! Cold, cold, are their breasts of clay ! Oh, 
from the rock on the hill, from the top of the windy 
steep, speak, ye ghosts of the dead ! Speak, I will not 
be afraid ! Whither are ye gone to rest ? In what cave 







SORROWS OF WERTHER 119 

" Such was thy song, Minona, softly blushing daugh- 
ter of Torman. Our tears descended for Colma, and 
our souls were sad! Ullin came with his harp; he 
gave the song of Alpin. The voice of Alpin was pleas- 
ant, the soul of Ryno was a beam of fire ! But they 
had rested in the narrow house : their voice had ceased 
in Selma ! Ullin had returned one day from the chase 
before the heroes felL He heard their strife on the 
hill : their song was soft, but sad ! They mourned the 
fall of Morar, first of mortal men ! His soul was like 
the soul of Fingal : his sword like the sword of Oscar. 
But he fell, and his father mourned: his sister's eyes 
were full of tears. Minona's eyes were full of tears, 
the sister of car-borne Morar. She retired from the 
song of Ullin, like the moon in the west, when she fore- 
sees the shower, and hides her fair head in a cloud. I 
touched the harp with Ullin : the song of morning 
rose! 

" Ryno. The wind and the rain are past, calm is 
the noon of day. The clouds are divided in heaven. 
Over the green hills flies the inconstant sun. Red 
through the stony vale comes down the stream of the 
hill. Sweet are thy murmurs, O stream ! but more 
sweet is the voice I hear. It is the voice of Alpin, the 
son of song, mourning for the dead ! Bent is his head 
of age : red his tearful eye. Alpin, thou son of song, 
why alone on the silent hill ? why complainest thou, 
as a blast in the wood — as a wave on the lonely 
shore ? 

" Alpin. My tears, O Ryno ! are for the dead — 
my voice for those that have passed away. Tall thou 
art on the hill ; fair among the sons of the vale. But 
thou shalt fall like Morar : the mourner shall sit on 
thy tomb. The hills shall know thee no more : thy 
bow shall lie in thy hall unstrung ! 

" Thou wert swift, O Morar ! as a roe on the desert : 
terrible as a meteor of fire. Thy wrath was as the 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



storm. Thy sword in battle as lightning in the field. 
Thy voice was a stream after rain, like thunder on dis- 
tant hills. Many fell by thy arm : they were con- 
sumed in the flames of thy wrath. But when thou 
didst return from war, how peaceful was thy brow. 
Thy face was Like the sun after rain : like the moon in 
the silence of night : calm as the breast of the lake 
when the loud wind is laid. 

44 Narrow is thy dwelling now I dark the place of 
thine abode ! With three steps I compass thy grave, 
O thou who wast so great before I Four stones, with 
their heads of moss, are the only memorial of thee. A 
tree with scarce a leaf, long grass which whistles in 
the wind, mark to the hunter's eye the grave of the 
mighty Morar, Morar I thou art low indeed. Thou 
hast no mother to mourn thee, no maid with her tears 
of love Dead is she that brought thee forth. Fallen 
is the daughter of Morglan 

" Who on his staff is this ? Who is this whose head 
is white with age, whose eyes are red with tears, who 
quakes at every step ? It is thy father, Morar ! the 
father of no son but thea He heard of thy fame in 
war, he heard of foes dispersed. He heard of Morar s 
renown, why did he not hear of his wound ? Weep, 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 121 

fell in the days of bis youth. Carmor was near the hero, 
the chief of the echoing Galmal. Why burst the sigh 
of Armin ? he said. Is there a cause to mourn ? The 
song comes with its music to melt and please the soul 
It is like soft mist that, rising from a lake, pours on 
the silent vale ; the green flowers are filled with dew, 
but the sun returns in his strength, and the mist is 
gone. Why art thou sad, O Armin, chief of sea-sur- 
rounded Gonna ? 

" Sad I am ! nor small is my cause of woe ! Carmor, 
thou hast lost no son ; thou hast lost no daughter of 
beauty. Colgar the valiant lives, and Annira, fairest 
maid. The boughs of thy house ascend, O Carmor! 
but Armin is the last of his race. Dark is thy bed, O 
Daura ! deep thy sleep in the tomb ! When shalt thou 
wake with thy songs ? — with all thy voice of music ? 

"Arise, winds of autumn, arise: blow along the 
heath. Streams of the mountains, roar ; roar, tempests 
in the groves of my oaks! Walk through broken 
clouds, O moon! show thy pale face at intervals; 
bring to my mind the night when all my children fell, 
when Arindal the mighty fell — when Daura the lovely 
failed. Daura, my daughter, thou wert fair, fair as the 
moon on Fura, white as the driven snow, sweet as the 
breathing gale. Arindal, thy bow was strong, thy spear 
was swift on the field, thy look was like mist on the 
wave, thy shield a red cloud in a storm ! Armar, re- 
nowned in war, came and sought Daura's love. He 
was not long refused: fair was the hope of their 
friends. 

" Erath, son of Odgal, repined : his brother had been 
slain by Armar. He came disguised like a son of the 
sea : fair was his cliff on the wave, white his locks of 
age, calm his serious brow. Fairest of women, he said, 
lovely daughter of Armin ! a rock not distant in the 
sea bears a tree on its side ; red shines the fruit afar. 
There Armar waits for Daura. I come to carry his 



122 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



love ! she went — she called on Armar. Nought an- 
swered, but the son of the rock, Arnrar, my love, my 
love I why tormentest thou me with fear ? Hear, son of 
Arnart, hear I it is Daura who caUeth thee. Erath, the 
traitor, fled laughing to the land. She lifted up her 
voice — she called for her brother and her father. 
Arindal ! Armin ! none to relieve you, Daura. 

*■ Her voice came over the sea. Arindal, my son, de- 
scended from the hill, rough in the spoils of the chase. 

His arrows rattled by his side; his bow was in his 
hand, five dark -gray dogs attended his steps, He saw 
fierce Erath on the shore ; he seized and bound him to 
an oak. Thick wind the thongs of the hide around bis 
limbs j he loads the winds with his groana Arindal 
ascends the deep in his boat to bring Daura to land. 
Armar came in his wrath, and let fly the gray-feathered 
shaft. It sung, it sunk in thy heart, Arindal, my 
sou ! for Erath the traitor thou diest. The oar is 
stopped at once: he panted on the rock, and expired. 
What is thy grief, O Daura, when round thy feet is 
poured thy brother's blood. The boat is broken in 
twain. Armar plunges into the sea to rescue his 
Daura, or die. Sudden a blast from a hill came over 
the waves ; he sank, and he rose no mora 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 123 

" Often by the setting moon I see the ghosts of my 
children ; half viewless they walk in mournful confer- 
ence together." 

A torrent of tears which streamed from Charlotte's 
eyes and gave relief to her bursting heart, stopped Wer- 
ther's recitation. He threw down the book, seized her 
hand, and wept bitterly. Charlotte leaned upon her 
hand, and buried her face in her handkerchief: the 
agitation of both was excessive. They felt that their 
own fate was pictured in the misfortunes of Ossian's 
heroes, — they felt this together, and their tears re- 
doubled. Werther supported his forehead on Charlotte's 
arm : she trembled, she wished to be gone ; but sorrow 
and sympathy lay like a leaden weight upon her soul. 
She recovered herself shortly, and begged Werther, 
with broken sobs, to leave her, — implored him with 
the utmost earnestness to comply with her request. 
He trembled ; his heart was ready to burst : then, tak- 
ing up the book again, he recommenced reading, in a 
voice broken by sobs. 

" Why dost thou waken me, spring ? Thy voice 
woos me, exclaiming, I refresh thee with heavenly 
dews; but the time of my decay is approaching, the 
storm is nigh that shall wither my leaves. To-morrow 
the traveller shall come, — he shall come, who beheld 
me in beauty: his eye shall seek me in the field 
around, but he shall not find me." 

The whole force of these words fell upon the unfor- 
tunate Werther. Full of despair, he threw himself at 
Charlotte's feet, seized her hands, and pressed them to 
his eyes and to his forehead. An apprehension of his 
fatal project now struck her for the first time. Her 
senses were bewildered: she held his hands, pressed 
them to her bosom ; and, leaning toward him with 
emotions of the tenderest pity, her warm cheek 
touched his. They lost sight of everything. The 
world disappeared from their eyes. He clasped her 



ia4 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



in bis arms, strained her to bis bosom, and covered her 
trembling lips with passionate kisses. " Werther ! " 
she cried with a faint voice, turning herself away; 
" Werther ! " and, with a feeble hand, she pushed him 
from her. At length, with the firm voice of virtue, 
she exclaimed, * f Werther ! m He resisted not, but, 
tearing himself from her arms, fell on bis knees be- 
fore her, Charlotte rose, and, with disordered grief, in 
mingled tones of love and resentment, she exclaimed, 
H It is the last time, Werther 1 You shall never see 
me any more ! " Then, casting one last, tender look 
upon her unfortunate lover, she rushed into the adjoin- 
ing room, and locked the door. Werther held out his 
arms, but did not dare to detain her. He continued 
on the ground, with his head resting on the sofa, for 
half an hour, till he heard a noise which brought him 
to his senses. The servant entered. He then walked 
up and down the room ; and, when he was again left 
alone, he went to Charlotte's door, and, in a low voice, 
said, "Charlotte, Charlotte! but one word more, one 
last adieu!" She returned do answer. He stopped, 
and listened and entreated; but all was silent At 
length he tore himself from the place, crying, " Adieu, 
Charlotte, adieu for ever ! " 






SORROWS OF WERTHER 125 

his coffee, found him writing. He was adding, to 
Charlotte, what we here annex. 

" For the last, last time I open these eyes. Alas ! 
they will behold the sun no more. It is covered by a 
thick, impenetrable cloud. Yes, Nature! put on 
mourning : your child, your friend, your lover, draws 
near his end! This thought, Charlotte, is without 
parallel; and yet it seems like a mysterious dream 
when I repeat — this is my last day! The last! 
Charlotte, no word can adequately express this 
thought. The last! To-day I stand erect in all 
my strength — to-morrow, cold and stark, I shall lie 
extended upon the ground. To die ! What is death ? 
We do but dream in our discourse upon it. I have 
seen many human beings die ; but, so straitened is our 
feeble nature, we have no clear conception of the 
beginning or the end of our existence. At this mo- 
ment I am my own — or rather I am thine, thine, my 
adored ! — and the next we are parted, severed — per- 
haps for ever ! No, Charlotte, no ! How can I, how 
can you, be annihilated? We exist. What is anni- 
hilation? A mere word, an unmeaning sound that 
fixes no impression on the mind. Dead, Charlotte! 
laid in the cold earth, in the dark and narrow grave ! 
I had a friend once who was everything to me in 
early youth. She died. I followed her hearse; I 
stood by her grave when the coffin was lowered ; and 
when I heard the creaking of the cords as they were 
loosened and drawn up, when the first shovelful of 
earth was thrown in, and the coffin returned a hollow 
sound, which grew fainter and fainter till all was com- 
pletely covered over, I threw myself on the ground; 
my heart was smitten, grieved, shattered, rent — but I 
neither knew what had happened, nor what was to 
happen to me. Death ! the grave ! I understand not 
the words. — Forgive, oh, forgive me ! Yesterday — ah, 



126 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



that day should have been the last of mj life 1 Thou 

angel! — for the first — first time in my existence, 
I felt rapture glow within my inmost soul. She loves, 
she loves me 1 Still burns upon my lips the sacred 
fire they received from thine. New torrents of delight 
overwhelm my soul Forgive me, oh, forgive 1 

" I knew that I was dear to you ; I saw it in your 
first entrancing look, knew it by the first pressure of 
your hand ; but when I was absent from you, when I 
saw Albert at your side, my doubts and fears returned. 

14 Do you remember the flowers you sent me, when, 
at that crowded assembly, you could neither speak nor 
extend your hand to me ? Half the night I was on 
my knees before those flowers, and I regarded them as 
the pledges of your love ; but those impressions grew 
fainter, and were at length effaced. 

" Everything passes away ; but a whole eternity could 
not extinguish the living flame which was yesterday 
kindled by your lips, and which now burns within ma 
She loves me ! These arms have encircled her waist, 
these lips have trembled upon hers. She is mine ! 
Yes, Charlotte, you are mine for ever ! 

" And what do they mean by saying Albert is your 
husband ? He may be so for this world ; and in this 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 127 

shall exist; we shall see each other again; we shall 
behold your mother ; I shall behold her, and expose to 
her my inmost heart Your mother — your image ! " 

About eleven o'clock Werther asked his servant if 
Albert had returned. He answered, "Yes;" for he 
had seen him pass on horseback : upon which Werther 
sent him the following note, unsealed : 

a Be so good as to lend me your pistols for a journey. 
Adieu." 

Charlotte had slept little during the past night. All 
her apprehensions were realised in a way that die could 
neither foresee nor avoid. Her blood was boiling in 
her veins, and a thousand painful sensations rent her 
pure heart. Was it the ardour of Werther's passionate 
embraces that she felt within her bosom? Was it 
anger at his daring ? Was it the sad comparison of 
her present condition with former days of innocence, 
tranquillity, and self-confidence ? How could she ap- 
proach her husband, and confess a scene which she 
had no reason to conceal, and which she yet felt, 
nevertheless, unwilling to avow ? They had preserved 
so long a silence toward each other — and should she 
be the first to break it by so unexpected a discovery ? 
She feared that the mere statement of Werther's visit 
would trouble him, and his distress would be height- 
ened by her perfect candour. She wished that he 
could see her in her true light, and judge her without 
prejudice; but was she anxious that he should read 
her inmost soul ? On the other hand, could she de- 
ceive a being to whom all her thoughts had ever been 
exposed as clearly as crystal, and from whom no senti- 
ment had ever been concealed ? These reflections 
made her anxious and thoughtful Her mind still 
dwelt on Werther, who was now lost to her, but 



128 SORROWS OF WERTHER 

whom she could not bring herself to resign, and for 
whom she knew nothing was left but despair if she 
should be lost to him for ever. 

A recollection of that mysterious estrangement 
which had lately subsisted between herself and Al- 
bert, and which she could never thoroughly under- 
stand, was now beyond measure painful to her. Even 
the prudent and the good have before now hesitated 
to explain their mutual differences, and have dwelt in 
silence upon their imaginary grievances, until circum- 
stances have become so entangled, that in that critical 
juncture, when a calm explanation would have saved 
all parties, an understanding was impossible. And 
thus if domestic confidence had been earlier estab- 
lished between them, if love and kind forbearance had 
mutually animated and expanded their hearts, it might 
not, perhaps, even yet have been too late to save our 
friend. 

But we must not forget one remarkable circum- 
stance. We may observe from the character of Wer- 
ther's correspondence, that he had never affected to 
conceal his anxious desire to quit this world. He had 
often discussed the subject with Albert ; and, between 
the latter and Charlotte, it had not unfrequently 
formed a topic of conversation. Albert was so op- 
posed to the very idea of such an action, that, with a 
degree of irritation unusual in him, he had more than 
once given Werther to understand that he doubted the 
seriousness of his threats, and not only turned them 
into ridicule, but caused Charlotte to share his feelings 
of incredulity. Her heart was thus tranquillised when 
she felt disposed to view the melancholy subject in a 
serious point of view, though she never communicated 
to her husband the apprehensions she sometimes ex- 
perienced. 

Albert, upon his return, was received by Charlotte 
with ill-concealed embarrassment. He was himself 



^ 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 129 

out of humour ; his business was unfinished ; and he 
had just discovered that the neighbouring official, with 
whom he had to deal, was an obstinate and narrow- 
minded personage. Many things had occurred to irri- 
tate him. 

He inquired whether anything had happened dur- 
ing his absence, and Charlotte hastily answered that 
Werther had been there on the evening previously. He 
then inquired for his letters, and was answered that 
several packages had been left in his study. He thereon 
retired, leaving Charlotte alone. 

The presence of the being she loved and honoured 
produced a new impression on her heart. The recol- 
lection of his generosity, kindness, and affection had 
calmed her agitation: a secret impulse prompted her 
to follow him; she took her work and went to his 
study, as was often her custom. He was busily 
employed opening and reading his letters. It seemed 
as if the contents of some were disagreeable. She 
asked some questions : he gave short answers, and sat 
down to write. 

Several hours passed in this manner, and Charlotte's 
feelings became more and more melancholy. She felt 
the extreme difficulty of explaining to her husband, 
under any circumstances, the weight that lay upon 
her heart; and her depression became every moment 
greater, in proportion as she endeavoured to hide her 
grief, and to conceal her tears. 

The arrival of Werther's servant occasioned her the 
greatest embarrassment. He gave Albert a note, which 
the latter coldly handed to his wife, saying, at the same 
time, " Give him the pistols. I wish him a pleasant 
journey," he added, turning to the servant. These 
words fell upon Charlotte like a thunderstroke: she 
rose from her seat half-fainting, and unconscious of 
what she did. She walked mechanically toward the 
wall, took down the pistols with a trembling hand, 



13° 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



slowly wiped the dust from them, and would have 
delayed longer, had not Albert hastened her move- 
ments by an impatient look. She then delivered the 
fatal weapons to the servant, without being able to 
utter a word. As soon as he had departed, she folded 
up her work, and retired at once to her room, her heart 
overcome with the most fearful forebodings. She antic- 
ipated some dreadful calamity. She was at one 
moment on the point of going to her husband, throw- 
ing herself at bis feet, and acquainting him with all 
that had happened on the previous evening, that she 
might acknowledge her fault, and explain her appre- 
hensions ; then she saw that such a step would be 
useless, as she would certainly be unable to induce 
Albert to visit Werther, Dinner was served ; and a 
kind friend whom she had persuaded to remain assisted 
to sustain the conversation, which was carried on by a 
sort of compulsion, till the events of the morning were 
forgotten. 

When the servant brought the pistols to Werther, 
the latter received them with transports of delight upon 
hearing that Charlotte had given them to him with her 
own hand. He ate some bread, drank some wine, sent 
his servant to dinner, and then sat down to write as 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 131 

efface the impression — I feel 70a cannot hate the man 
who so passionately loves you ! " 

After dinner he called his servant, desired him to 
finish the packing up, destroyed many papers, and then 
went out to pay some trifling debts. He soon returned 
home, then went out again, notwithstanding the rain, 
walked for some time in the count's garden, and after- 
ward proceeded farther into the country. Toward even- 
ing he came back once more, and resumed his writing. 

" Wilhelm, I have for the last time beheld the moun- 
tains, the forests, and the sky. Farewell ! And you, 
my dearest mother, forgive me! Console her, Wil- 
helm. (Jod bless you ! I have settled all my affairs I 
Farewell I We shall meet again, and be happier than 
ever." 

" I have requited you badly, Albert ; but you will 
forgive ma I have disturbed the peace of your home. 
I have sowed distrust between you. Farewell ! I will 
end all this wretchedness. And oh, that my death may 
render you happy ! Albert, Albert ! make that angel 
happy, and the blessing of Heaven be upon you ! " 

He spent the rest of the evening in arranging his 
papers: he tore and burned a great many; others 
he sealed up, and directed to Wilhelm. They con- 
tained some detached thoughts and maxims, some of 
which I have perused. At ten o'clock he ordered his 
fire to be made up, and a bottle of wine to be brought 
to him. He then dismissed his servant, whose room, 
as well as the apartments of the rest of the family, was 
situated in another part of the house. The servant lay 
down without undressing, that he might be the sooner 
ready for his journey in the morning, his master hav- 
ing informed him that the post-horses would be at the 
door before six o'clock. 



13* 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



u Past eleven o'clock ! All is silent around me, and 
my soul is calm. I thank thee; God, that thou 
bestowest strength and courage upon me in these last 
moments! I approach the window* my dearest of 
friends j and through the clouds, which are at this 
moment driven rapidly along by the impetuous winds, 
I behold the stars which illumine the eternal heavena 
No, you will not fall, celestial bodies : the band of the 
Almighty supports both you and me ! I have looked 
for the last time upon the constellation of the Greater 
Bear: it is my favourite star; for when I bade you 
farewell at night, Charlotte, and turned my steps from 
your door, it always shone upon me. With what rap- 
ture have I at times beheld it ! How often have I 
implored it with uplifted hands to witness my felicity ! 
and even still — But what object is there, Charlotte, 
which fails to summon up your image before me ? Do 
you not surround me on all sides ! and have I not, 
like a child, treasured up every trifle which you have 
consecrated by your touch ? 

" Your profile, which was so dear to me, I return to 
you ; and I pray you to preserve it. Thousands of 
kisses have I imprinted upon it, and a thousand times 
has it gladdened my heart on departing from and 



■dta- 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 133 

and fatal cup, from which I shall drink the draught of 
death. Tour hand presents it to me, and I do nob 
tremble. All, all is now concluded : the wishes and 
the hopes of my existence are fulfilled. With cold, 
unflinching hand I knock at the brazen portals of 
Death. 

" Oh, that I had enjoyed the bliss of dying for you J 
how gladly would I have sacrificed myself for you, 
Charlotte ! And could I but restore peace and joy to 
your bosom, with what resolution, with what joy, 
would I not meet my fate ! But it is the lot of only 
a chosen few to shed their blood for their friends, and 
by their death to augment, a thousand times, the happi- 
ness of those by whom they are beloved. 

" I wish, Charlotte, to be buried in the dress I wear 
at present : it has been rendered sacred by your touch. 
I have begged this favour of your father. My spirit 
soars above my sepulchre. I do not wish my pockets 
to be searched. The knot of pink ribbon which you 
wore on your bosom the first time I saw you, sur- 
rounded by the children — Oh, kiss them a thousand 
times for me, and tell them the fate of their unhappy 
friend ! I think I see them playing around me. The 
dear children ! How warmly have I been attached to 
you, Charlotte ! Since the first hour I saw you, how 
impossible have I found it to leave you. This ribbon 
must be buried with me : it was a present from you on 
my birthday. How confused it all appears! Little 
did I then think that I should journey this road. But 
peace ! I pray you, peace ! 

" They are loaded — the clock strikes twelve. I say 
amen. Charlotte, Charlotte ! farewell, farewell ! " 

A neighbour saw the flash, and heard the report of 
the pistol; but, as everything remained quiet, he 
thought no more of it. 

In the morning, at six o'clock, the servant went into 



=34 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



Werther's room with a candle. He found his master 
Btretched upon the floor, weltering in his blood, and 
the pistols at his side. He called, he took him in his 
arms, but received no answer. life was not yet quite 
extinct. The servant ran for a surgeon, and then went 
to fetch Albert, Charlotte heard the ringing of the 
bell : a cold shudder seized her. She wakened her hus- 
band, and they both rose. The servant, bathed in tears, 
faltered forth the dreadful news. Charlotte fell sense- 
less at Albert's feet. 

When the surgeon came to the unfortunate Werther, 
be was still lying on the floor ; and his pulse beat, but 
bis Umbs were cold. The bullet, entering the forehead, 
over (he right eye, had penetrated the akulL A vein 
was opened in his right arm : the blood came, and he 
still continued to breathe. 

From the blood which flowed from the chair, it could 
be inferred that he had committed the rash act sitting 
at his bureau, and that he afterward fell upon the floor. 
He was found lying on his back near the window. He 
was in full-dress costume. 

The house, the neighbourhood, and the whole town 
were immediately in commotion. Albert arrived. They 
had laid Werther on the bed : his head was bound up, 



SORROWS OF WERTHER 



*35 



hands and face. The eldest, who was his favourite, 
hung over him till he expired ; and even then he was 
removed by force. At twelve o'clock Werther breathed 
his last The presence of the steward, and the precau- 
tions he had adopted, prevented a disturbance; and 
that night, at the hour of eleven, he caused the body 
to be interred in the place which Werther had selected 
for himself. 

The steward and his sons followed the corpse to the 
grave. Albert was unable to accompany them. Char- 
lotte's life was despaired of. The body was carried by 
labourers. No priest attended. 



'Elective Affinities 
Part I. 



Elective Affinities 



CHAPTER I. 

Edward (so we shall call a wealthy nobleman in the 
prime of life) had been spending several hours of a fine 
April morning in his nursery garden, budding the stems 
of some young trees with cuttings which had been 
recently sent to him. He had finished what he had 
been about; and, having laid his tools together in 
their box, was complacently surveying his work, when 
the gardener came up, and complimented his master 
on his industry. 

"Have you seen my wife anywhere?" inquired 
Edward, as he moved to go away. 

" My lady is alone yonder in the new grounds," said 
the man: "the summer-house which she has been 
making on the rock over against the castle is finished 
to-day, and really it is beautiful It cannot fail to 
please your Grace. The view from it is perfect, — the 
village at your feet ; a little to your right the church, 
with its tower, which you can just see over; and 
directly opposite you the castle and the garden." 

" Quite true," replied Edward : " I can see the people 
at work a few steps from where I am standing." 

" And then, to the right of the church, again," con- 
tinued the gardener, " is the opening of the valley ; and 
you look along over a range of wood and meadow far 
into the distance. The steps up the rock, too, are 

139 



14° 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



excellently arranged. My lady understands these 
things: it is a pleasure to work under her orders," 

£l Go to her/' said Edward, * and desire her to be so 
good as to wait for me there. Tell her I wish to see 
this new creation of hers, and enjoy it with her," 

The gardener went rapidly off, and Edward soon fol- 
lowed. Descending the terrace, and stopping, as he 
passed, to look into the hothouses and the forcing-pits, 
he came presently to the stream, and thence, over a 
narrow bridge, to a place where the walk leading to 
the summer-house branched off in two directions. One 
path led across the churchyard, immediately up the 
face of the rock, The other, into which he struck, 
wound away to the left, with a more gradual ascent, 
through a pretty shrubbery* Where the two paths 
joined again, a seat had been made, where he stopped 
a few moments to rest ; and then, following the now 
single road, he found himself, after scrambling along 
among steps and slopes of all sorts and kinds, conducted 
at last through a narrow, more or less steep, outlet to 
the summer-house. 

Charlotte was standing at the door to receive her 
husband. She made him sit down where, without 
moving, he could command a view of the different 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 141 

" Now that we are here by ourselves, with no one to 
disturb us, and in such a pleasant mood," said Edward, 
" it is a good opportunity for me to tell you that I have 
for some time had something on my mind, about which 
I have wished to speak to you, but have never been 
able to muster up my courage." 

" I have observed that there has been something of 
the sort," said Charlotte. 

"And even now," Edward went on, "if it were not 
for a letter which the post brought me this morning, 
and which obliges me to come to some resolution, 
to-day, I should very likely have still kept it to my- 
self." 

" What is it ? " asked Charlotte, turning affectionately 
toward him. 

"It concerns our friend the captain," answered 
Edward : " you know the unfortunate position in which 
he, like many others, is placed. It is through no 
fault of his own, but you may imagine how painful it 
must be for a person with his knowledge and talents 
and accomplishments to find himself without employ- 
ment. I — I will not hesitate any longer with what I 
am wishing for him : I should like to have him here 
with us for a time." 

" We must think about that," replied Charlotte : " it 
should be considered on more sides than one." 

" I am quite ready to tell you what I have in view," 
returned Edward. " Through his last letters there is a 
prevailing tone of despondency, — not that he is really 
in any want : he knows thoroughly well how to limit 
his expenses, and I have taken care for everything 
absolutely necessary. It is no distress to him to accept 
obligations from me : all our lives we have been in the 
habit of borrowing from and lending to each other; 
and we could not tell, if we would, how our debtor and 
credit account stands. It is being without occupation 
which is really fretting him. The many accomplish- 



.c r 



i \: 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



ments which he has cultivated in himself it is his only 
pleasure — indeed it is his passion — to be daily and 
hourly exercising for the benefit of others. And now 
to sit still with his arms folded ; or to go on studying, 
acquiring, and acquiring, when he can make no use of 
what he already possesses, — my dear creature, it is a 
painful situation ; and, alone as he is, he feels it doubly 
and trebly." 

* But I thought," said Charlotte, * that be had had 
offers from many different quarters, I myself wrote 
to numbers of my own friends, male and female, for 
him, and, as I have reason to believe, not without 
effect." 

11 It is true/ 1 replied Edward ; " but these very offers, 
these various proposals, have only caused him fresh 
embarrassment. Not one of them is at all suitable to 
such a person as he is. He would have nothing to do : 
he would have to sacrifice himself, his time, his pur- 
poses, bis whole method of life ; and to that he cannot 
bring himself. The more I think of it all, the more I 
feel about it, and the more anxious I am to see him 
here with us," 

u It is very beautiful and amiable on your part," 
answered Charlotte, " to enter with so much sympathy 
into your friend's position ; only, you must allow me to 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 143 

erty and the grounds. He will see to it, and get it 
made. You intend, yourself, to take the management 
of the estate, as soon as our present steward's term is r ^ v* rc *'" ' * 
expired ; and that, you know, is a serious thing. His 
various information will be of immense benefit to us : 
I feel only too acutely how much I require a person 
of this kind. The country people have knowledge 
enough ; but their way of imparting it is confused, and 
not always honest. The students from the towns and 
universities are sufficiently clever and orderly, but they 
are deficient in personal experience. From my friend, 
I can promise myself both knowledge and method; 
and hundreds of other circumstances I can easily con- 
ceive arising, affecting you as well as me, and from 
which I can foresee innumerable advantages. Thank 
you for so patiently listening to me. Now, do you 
say what you think, and say it out freely and fully: rc-ip cc' /?-• 
I will not interrupt you." r 

"Very well," replied Charlotte: "I will begin at ■' 

once with a general observation. Men think most of 
the immediate — the present ; and lightly, their calling 
being to do and to work. Women, on the other hand, 
more of how things hang together in life: and that 
rightly, too, because their destiny — the destiny of their ■ _ , . /' 
families — is bound up in this interdependence ; and it 
is exactly this which it is their mission to promote. 
So, now, let us cast a glance at our present and our 
past life ; and you will acknowledge that the invitation 
of the captain does not fall in so entirely with our pur- 
poses, our plans, and our arrangements. I will go 
back to those happy days of our earliest intercourse. 
We loved each other, young as we then were, with all 
our hearts. We were parted : you from me — your 
father, from an insatiable desire of wealth, choosing to 
marry you to an elderly and rich lady ; I from you, 
having to give my hand, without any especial motive, 
to an excellent man, whom I respected, if I did not 



■44 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



love. We became again free — you first, your poor 
mother at the same time leaving you in possession of 
your large fortune ; I later, just at the time when yon 
returned from abroad. So we met once more. We 
spoke of the past ; we could enjoy and love the recol- 
lection of it ; we might have been contented, in each 
other's society, to leave things as they were. Yon 
were urgent for our marriage. I at first hesitated. 
We were about the same age ; but I, as a woman, had 
grown older than you as a man. At last I could not 
refuse you what you seemed to think the one thing 
you cared for. All the discomfort you had ever expe- 
rienced, at court, in the army, or in travelling, you 
were to recover from at my side. You would settle 
down* and enjoy life, but only with me for your com- 
panion. I placed my daughter at a school where she 
could be more completely educated than would be 
possible in the retirement of the country ; and I placed 
my niece Ottilia there with her as well, who, perhaps, 
would have grown tip better at home with me, under 
my own care. This was done with your consent, 
merely that we might have our own lives to ourselves, 
— merely that we might enjoy undisturbed our so- 
loug-wished-for, so-long-delayed, happiness. We came 
here, and settled ourselves. I undertook the domestic 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 145 

only, are we to build nothing upon it ? is nothing to 
be developed out of it ? All the work we have done, 
— I in the garden, you in the park, — is it all only for 
a pair of hermits ? " 

"Well, well," replied Charlotte, "very well. What 
we have to look to is, that we introduce no alien ele- 
ment, nothing which shall cross or obstruct us. Re- 
member, our plans, even those which only concern our 
amusements, depend mainly on our being together. 
You were to read to me, in consecutive order, the 
journal which you made when you were abroad. You 
were to take the opportunity of arranging it, putting all 
the loose matter connected with it in its place ; and, 
with me to work with you and help you, out of these 
invaluable but chaotic leaves and sheets, to put to- 
gether a complete thing, which should give pleasure 
to ourselves and to others. I promised to assist you 
in transcribing ; and we thought it would be so pleas- 
ant, so delightful, so charming, to travel over in rec- 
ollection the world which we were unable to see 
together. The beginning is already made. Then, in 
the evenings, you have taken up your flute again, 
accompanying me on the piano ; while, of visits back- 
wards and forwards among the neighbourhood, there is 
abundance. For my part, I have been promising my- 
self out of all this the first really happy summer I 
have ever thought to spend in my life." 

" Only, I cannot see," replied Edward, rubbing his 
forehead, "how, through every bit of this which you 
have been so sweetly and so sensibly laying before me, 
the captain's presence can be any interruption: I 
should rather have thought it would give it all fresh 
zest and life. He was my companion during a part of 
my travels. He made many observations from a dif- 
ferent point of view from mine. We can put it all 
together, and so make a charmingly complete work of 
it." 



t 4 6 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 









lf Well, then, I will acknowledge openly," answered 
Charlotte, with some impatience, " my feeling is against 
this plan. I have an instinct which telle me no good 
will come of it" 

"You women are invincible in this way," replied 
Edward. "You are so sensible that there is no an- 
swering you ; then, so affectionate, that one is glad to 
give way to you; full of feelings, which one cannot 
wound ; and full of forebodings, which terrify one," 

" I am not superstitious," said Charlotte : " and I care 
nothing for these dim sensations, merely as such ; but, 
in general, they are the result of unconscious recol- 
lections of happy or unhappy consequences, which we 
have experienced as following on our own or others' 
actions. Nothing is of greater moment, in any state of 
things, than the intervention of a third person. I 
have seen friends, brothers and sisters, lovers, husbands 
and wives, whose relation to each other, through the 
accidental or intentional introduction of a third person, 
has been altogether changed, — whose whole moral 
condition has been inverted by it," 

"That may very well be" replied Edward, "with 
people who live on, without looking where they are 
going ; but not, surely, with persons who have attained 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



*47 



is your way to leave them to chance. To me, in such 
a serious matter, this seems almost a crime." 

" Then, what am I to write to the captain ? " cried 
Edward ; " for write I must at once." 

M Write him a kind, sensible, sympathising letter/ 9 
answered Charlotte. 

" That is as good as none at all," replied Edward. 

"And there are many cases," answered she, "in 
which we are obliged, and in which it is the real kind- 
ness, rather to write nothing than not to write." 



/V'/»H 



r\**A*{ 



CHAPTER IL 



Edward was alone in his room- The repetition of 
the incidents of his life from Charlotte's lips; the 
representation of their mutual situation, their mutual 
purposes, - — had worked him, sensitive as he was, into 
a very pleasant state of mind* While close to her — 
while in her presence — he had felt so happy, that he 
had thought out a warm, kind, but quiet and indefinite, 
epistle which he would send to the captain. When, 
however, he had settled himself at his writing-table, 
and taken up his friend's letter to read it over once 
more, the sad condition of this excellent man rose again 
vividly before him. The feelings which had been all 
day distressing him again awoke, and it appeared im- 
possible to him to leave one whom he called his friend 
in such painful embarrassment. 

Edward was unaccustomed to deny himself anything. 
The only child, and consequently the spoiled child, of 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 149 

for the first time, contradicted, crossed in his wishes, 
when those wishes were to invite to his home the 
friend of his youth, — just as he was longing, as it 
were, to throw open his whole heart to him. He felt 
annoyed, impatient: he took up his pen again and 
again, and as often threw it down again because he 
could not make up his mind what to write. He would 
not go counter to his wife's wishes : still less could he 
go counter to her expressed desire. Ill at ease as he 
was, it would have been impossible for him, even if 
he had wished, to write a quiet, easy letter. The most 
natural thing to do, was to put it off. In a few words, 
he begged his friend to forgive him for having left his 
letter unanswered: that day he was unable to write 
circumstantially, but shortly he hoped to be able to tell 
him what he felt at greater length. 

The next day, as they were walking to the same 
spot, Charlotte took the opportunity of bringing back 
the conversation to the subject; perhaps because she 
knew that there is no surer way of rooting out any plan 
or purpose than by often talking it over. 

It was what Edward was wishing. He expressed 
himself in his own way, kindly and sweetly. For al- 
though, sensitive as he was, he flamed up readily, — 
although the vehemence with which he desired any- 
thing made him pressing, and his obstinacy made him 
impatient, — his words were so softened by his wish to 
spare the feelings of those to whom he was speaking, 
that it was impossible not to be charmed, even when 
one most disagreed with him. 

On that morning he first contrived to bring Char- 
lotte into the happiest humour, and then so disarmed 
her with the graceful turn which he gave to the con- 
versation, that she cried out at last : 

" You are determined that what I refuse to the hus- 
band you will make me grant to the lover. At least, 
my dearest/' she continued, " I will acknowledge that 



I 5° 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 






your wishes, and the warmth and sweetness with which 
you express them, have not left me untouched, have 
not left me unmovecL You drive me to make a confes- 
sion : until now I, too, have had a concealment from 
you ; I am in exactly the same position with you, and I 
have hitherto been putting the same restraint on my 
inclination which I have been exhorting you to put on 
yours." 

"Glad am I to hear that" said Edward. *In the 
married state, a difference of opinion now and then, I 
see, is no bad thing, We learn something of one 
another by it " 

" You are to learn at present, then " said Charlotte, 
"that I feel with regard to Ottilia as you do with 
regard to the captain. The dear child is most uncom- 
fortable at the school, and I am thoroughly uneasy 
about her. Luciana, my daughter, born as she is for 
the world, is there training hourly for the world: 
languages, history, everything that is taught there, she 
acquires with so much ease, that, as it were, she learns 
them off at sight. She has quick natural gifts, and au 
excellent memory; one may almost say she forgets 
everything, and in a moment calls it all back again. 
She distinguishes herself above every one at the school 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 151 

girl in other respects growing up so lovely seems com- 
ing to nothing, and shows neither capacity nor accom- 
plishment This, and the little she has to say besides, 
is no riddle to me ; because I can see in this dear child 
the same character as that of her mother, who was my 
own dearest friend, who grew up with myself, and 
whose daughter, I am certain, if I had the care of her 
education, would form into an exquisite creature. 

" This, however, has not fallen in with our plan ; and 
as one ought not to be picking and pulling, or for ever 
introducing new elements among the conditions of our 
life, I think it better to bear, and to conquer as I can, 
even the unpleasant impression that my daughter, who 
knows very well that poor Ottilie is entirely dependent 
upon us, does not refrain from flourishing her own suc- 
cesses in her face, and so, to a certain extent, destroys 
the little good which we have done for her. Who are 
well enough trained never to wound others by a parade 
of their own advantages ? and who stands so high as 
not at times to suffer under such a slight ? In trials 
like these, Ottilie's character is growing in strength; 
but, since I have clearly known the painfulness of her 
situation, I have been thinking over all possible ways 
to make some other arrangement. Every hour I am 
expecting an answer to my own last letter, and then I 
do not mean to hesitate any more. So, my dear 
Edward, it is with ma We have both, you see, the 
same sorrows to bear, touching both our hearts in the 
same point. Let us bear them together, since we 
neither of us can press our own against the other." 

"We are strange creatures," said Edward, smiling. 
"If we can only put out of sight anything which 
troubles us, we fancy at once we have got rid of it. 
We can give up much in the large and general, but to 
make sacrifices in little things, is a demand to which 
we are rarely equal. So it was with my mother, — as 
long as I lived with her, while a boy and a young man, 



152 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

she could not bear to let me be a moment out of her 
sight If I was out later than usual in my ride, some 
misfortune must have happened to ma If I got wet 
through in a shower, a fever was inevitable. I trav- 
elled : I was absent from her altogether ; and, at onoe, 
I scarcely seemed to belong to her. If we look at it 
closer," he continued, "we are both acting very fool- 
ishly, very culpably. Two very noble natures, both of 
which have the closest claims on our affection, we are 
leaving exposed to pain and distress, merely to avoid 
exposing ourselves to a chance of danger. If this is 
not to be called selfish, what is ? You take Ottilie ; 
let me have the captain: and for a short period, at 
least, let the trial be made." 

" We might venture it," said Charlotte thoughtfully, 
"if the danger were only to ourselves. But do you 
think it prudent to bring Ottilie and the captain into a 
situation where they must necessarily be so closely in- 
timate, — the captain a man no older than yourself, of 
an age (I am not saying this to flatter you) when a 
man becomes first capable of love and first deserving of 
it, and a girl of Ottilie's attractiveness ? " 

"I cannot conceive how you can rate Ottilie so 
high," replied Edward. " I can only explain it to my- 
self by supposing her to have inherited your affection 
for her mother. Pretty she is, no doubt. I remem- 
ber the captain telling me so, when we came back last 
year, and met her at your aunt's. Attractive she is, 
— she has particularly pretty eyes; but I do not 
know that she made the slightest impression upon me." 

"That was quite proper in you," said Charlotte, 
" seeing that I was there ; and, although she is much 
younger than I, the presence of your old friend had 
so many charms for you, that you overlooked the 
promise of the opening beauty. It is one of your 
ways, and that is one reason why it is so pleasant 
to live with you." 



s 



SS^^Sbi 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 153 

Charlotte, openly as she appeared to be speaking, 
was keeping back something, nevertheless, which was, 
that, at the time when Edward first came back from 
aboard, she had purposely thrown Ottilie in his way, 
to secure, if possible, so desirable a match for her 
protSgSe. For of herself, at that time, in connection 
with Edward, she never thought at all. The captain, 
also, had a hint given to him to draw Edward's atten- 
tion to her; but the latter, who was clinging deter- 
minately to his early affection for Charlotte, looked 
neither right nor left, and was only happy in the 
feeling that it was at last within his power to obtain 
for himself the one happiness which he so earnestly 
desired, and which a series of incidents had appeared 
to have placed for ever beyond his reach. 

They were on the point of descending the new 
grounds, newly laid out, in order to return to the 
castle, when a servant came hastily to meet them, 
and, with a laugh on his face, called up from below, 
"Will your Grace be pleased to come quickly to the 
castle ? The Herr Mittler has just galloped into the 
court. He shouted to us, to go all of us in search 
of you ; and we were to ask whether there was need, 
'whether there is need,' he cried after us, 'do you 
hear? but be quick, be quick.'" 

"The odd fellow!" exclaimed Edward. "But has 
he not come at the right time, Charlotte ? Tell him, 
there is need, — grievous need. He must alight. See 
his horse taken care of. Take him into the saloon, and 
let him have some luncheon. We shall be with him 
immediately. 

" Let us take the nearest way," he said to his wife, 
and struck into the path across the churchyard, which 
he usually avoided. He was not a little surprised to 
find here, too, traces of Charlotte's delicate hand. 
Sparing, as far as possible, the old monuments, she 
had contrived to level it, and lay it carefully out, so 



'54 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



as to make it appear a pleasant spot on which the eye 

and the imagination could equally repose with pleas- 
ure. The oldest stones had each their special honour 
assigned thenL They were ranged according to their 
dates along the wall, either leaning against it, or let 
into it, or however it could be contrived ; and the 
string-course of the church was thus variously orna- 
mented 

Edward was singularly affected as he came in upon 
it through the little wicket: he pressed Charlotte's 
hand, and tears started into his eyes. But these were 
very soon put to flight by the appearance of their 
singular visitor* This gentleman had declined sitting 
down in the castle: he had ridden straight through 
the village to the churchyard-gate ; and then, halting, 
he called out to his friends, * Are you not making 
a fool of me ? Is there need, really ? If there is, I 
can stay till midday. But don't keep me. I have 
a great deal to do before night." 

u Since you have taken the trouble to come so far," 
cried Edward to him, in answer, ■ you had better come 
through the gate. We meet at a solemn spot. Come 
and see the variety which Charlotte has thrown over 
its sadness." 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 155 

The three soon met in the parlour, where luncheon 
was brought in; and Mittler told them what he had 
done, and was going to do on that day. This eccen- 
tric person had in early life been a clergyman, and 
had distinguished himself in his office by the never- 
resting activity with which he contrived to make up 
and put an end to quarrels, — quarrels in families, and 
quarrels between neighbours ; first among the individ- 
uals immediately about him, and afterward among 
whole congregations, and among the country gentle- 
men round. While he was in the ministry, no 
married couple were allowed to separate; and the 
district courts were untroubled with either cause or 
process. A knowledge of the law, he was well aware, 
was necessary to him. He gave himself with all his 
might to the study of it, and very soon felt himself 
a match for the best-trained advocate. His circle of 
activity extended wonderfully ; and people were on 
the point of inducing him to move to the Residence, 
where he would find opportunities of exercising in the 
higher circles what he had begun in the lowest, when 
he won a considerable sum of money in a lottery. 
With this he bought himself a small property. H§ 
let the ground to a tenant, and made it the centre 
of his operations, with the fixed determination, or 
rather in accordance with his old customs and inclina- 
tions, never to enter a house when there was no dispute 
to make up, and no help to be given. People who 
were superstitious about names, and about what they 
imported, maintained that it was his being called 
Mittler which drove him to take upon himself this 
strange employment. 

Luncheon was laid on the table, and the stranger 
then solemnly pressed his host not to wait any longer 
with the disclosure which he had to make. Immedi- 
ately after refreshing himself he would be obliged to 
leave them. 



156 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Husband and wife made a circumstantial confession ; 
but scarcely had he caught the substance of the matter, 
when he started angrily up from the table, rushed out 
of the saloon, and ordered his horse to be saddled 
instantly, 

"Either you do not know me, you do not under- 
stand me" he cried, ** or you are sorely mischievous. 
Do you call this a quarrel ? Is there any want of 
help here ? Do you suppose that I am in the world 
to give advice t Of all occupations which man can 
pursue, that is the most foolish. Every man must 
be his own counsellor, and do what he cannot let 
alone. If all go well, let him be happy, let him enjoy 
his wisdom and his fortune ; if it go ill, I am at hand 
to do what I can for him. The man who desires to be 
rid of an evil, knows what he wants ; but the man 
who desires something better than he has is stone- 
blind. Yes, yes, laugh as you wili, he is playing 
blindman's-buff : perhaps he gets hold of something; 
but the question is, what he has got hold of. Do as 
you will : it is all one. Invite your friends to you, 
or let them be : it is all the same. The most prudent 
plans I have seen miscarry, and the most foolish suc- 
ceed. Don't split your brains about it: and if, one 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 157 

his mind to accept one of the situations which had 
been offered him, although it was not in the least up 
to his mark. He was to share the ennui of certain 
wealthy persons of rank, who depended on his ability 
to dissipate it 

Edward's keen glance saw into the whole thing; 
and he pictured it out in just, sharp lines. 

"Can we endure to think of our friend in such 
a position?" he cried. "You cannot be so cruel, 
Charlotte." 

"That strange Mittler is right, after all," replied 
Charlotte : " all such undertakings are ventures ; what 
will come of them, it is impossible to foresee. New 
elements introduced among us may be fruitful in for- 
tune or in misfortune, without our having to take 
credit to ourselves for one or the other. I do not 
feel myself firm enough to oppose you further. Let 
us make the experiment ; only one thing I will entreat 
of you, — that it be only for a short time. You must 
allow me to exert myself more than ever, to use all 
my influence among all my connections, to find him 
some position which will satisfy him in his own way." 

Edward assured his wife of his warmest gratitude. 
He hastened with a light, happy heart, to write off his 
proposals to his friend. Charlotte in a postscript was 
to signify her approbation with her own hand, and 
unite her own kind entreaties with his. She wrote, 
with a rapid pen, pleasantly and affectionately, but 
yet with a sort of haste which was not usual with 
her ; and, most unlike herself, she disfigured the paper 
at last with a blot of ink, which put her out of temper, 
and which she only made worse with her attempts to 
wipe it away. 

Edward laughed at her about it ; and, as there was 
still room, added a second postscript, that his friend 
was to see from this symptom the impatience with 
which he was expected, and measure the speed at 




158 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



which he came to them by the haste in which the 
letter was written. 

The messenger was gone; and Edward thought he 
could not give a more convincing evidence of his grati- 
tude than by insisting again and again that Charlotte 
should at once send for Ottilie from the school She 
said she would think about it, and, for that evening, 
induced Edward to join with her in the enjoyment of 
a little music, Charlotte played exceedingly well on 
the piano, Edward not quite so well on the flute. He 
had taken a great deal of pains with it at times ; but 
he lacked the patience, the perseverance, requisite for 
the completely successful cultivation of such a talent. 
Consequently his part was done unequally : some pieces 
well, only perhaps too quickly j while with others he 
hesitated, not being quite familiar with them ; so that, 
for any one else, it would have been difficult to have 
gone through a duet with him. But Charlotte knew 
how to manage it- She held in, or let bets elf be run 
away with, and fulfilled in this way the double part of 
a skilful conductor and a prudent housewife, who are 
able always to keep right on the whole, although par- 
ticular passages will now and then fall out of order, 



CHAPTER HI. 

The captain came, having previously written a most 
sensible letter, which had entirely quieted Charlotte's 
apprehensions. So much clearness about himself, so 
just an understanding of his own position and the posi- 
tion of his friends, promised everything which was best 
and happiest 

The conversation of the first few hours, as is gener- 
ally the case with friends who have not met for a long 
time, was eager, lively, almost exhausting. Toward 
evening Charlotte proposed a walk to the new grounds. 
The captain was delighted with the spot, and observed 
every beauty which had been first brought into sight 
and made enjoyable by the new walks. He had a 
practised eye, and at the same time one easily satis- 
fied ; and, although he knew very well what was really 
valuable, he never, as so many persons do, made people 
who were showing him things of their own uncom- 
fortable by requiring more than the circumstances 
admitted of, or by mentioning anything more perfect 
which he remembered having seen elsewhere. 

When they arrived at the summer-house, they found 
it dressed out for a holiday, only, indeed, with artificial 
flowers and evergreens, but with some pretty bunches 
of natural corn-ears among them, and other field and 
garden fruit, so as to do credit to the taste which had 
arranged them. 

" Although my husband does not like in general to 
have his birthday or christening-day kept," Charlotte 

i59 




i6o 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



said, " he will not object to-day to these few ornaments 
being expended on a treble festival." 

" Treble ? " cried Edward 

" Yes, indeed," she replied. fi Our Mend's arrival 
here we are bound to keep as a festival ; and have you 
never thought, either of you, that this is the day on 
which you were both christened ? Are you not both 
named Otto ? " 

The two friends shook bands across the little 
table. 

" You bring back to my mind," Edward said* * this 
little link of our boyish affection. As children we 
were both called bo : but, when we came to be at 
school together, it was the cause of much confusion ; 
and I readily made over to him all my right to the 
pretty, laconic name/' 

* Wherein you were not altogether so very high- 
minded " said the captain ; " for I well remember that 
the name of Edward had then begun to please you 
better, from its attractive sound when spoken by cer- 
tain pretty lips/* 

They were now all three sitting round the same 
table where Charlotte had spoken so vehemently 
against their guest's coming to them, Edward, happy 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 161 

u that this narrow little valley forms the whole of our 
domain and possessions. Let us take him up to the 
top of the hiU, where he can see farther, and breathe 
more freely." 

" For this once, then," answered Charlotte, " we must 
climb up the old foot-path, which is not too easy. By 
the next time, I hope my walks and steps will have 
been carried right up." 

And so, among rocks and shrubs and bushes, they 
made their way to the summit, where they found 
themselves, not on a level flat, but on a sloping grassy 
terrace, running along the ridge of the hill. The vil- 
lage, with the castle behind it, was out of sight. At 
the bottom of the valley, sheets of water were seen 
spreading out right and left, with wooded hills rising 
immediately from their opposite margin, and, at the 
end of the upper water, a wall of sharp, precipitous 
rocks directly overhanging it, their huge forms reflected 
in its level surface. In the hollow of the ravine, 
where a considerable brook ran into the lake, lay a 
mill half hidden among the trees, a sweetly retired 
spot, most beautifully surrounded; and through the 
entire semicircle, over which the view extended, ran 
an endless variety of hills and valleys, copse and forest, 
the early green of which promised the near approach 
of a luxuriant clothing of foliage. In many places 
particular groups of trees caught the eye, and espe- 
cially a cluster of planes and poplars directly at the 
spectator's feet, close to the edge of the centre lake. 
They were at their full growth ; and they stood there, 
spreading out their boughs all around them, in fresh 
and luxuriant strength. 

To these Edward called his friend's attention. 

" I myself planted them," he cried, " when I was a 
boy. They were small trees which I rescued when 
my father was laying out the new part of the great 
castle garden, and in the middle of one summer had 



i6i 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



rooted them out. This year you will no doubt see 
them show their gratitude in a fresh set of shoota" 

They returned to the castle in high spirits, and 
mutually pleased with each other. To the guest was 
allotted an agreeable and roomy set of apartments in 
the right wing of the castle ; and here he rapidly got 
his books and papers and instruments in order, to go 
ou with his usual occupation. But Edward, for the 
first few days, gave him no rest. He took him about 
everywhere, now on foot, now on horseback, making 
him acquainted with the country and with the estate ; 
and he embraced the opportunity of imparting to him 
the wishes, which he had been long entertaining, of 
gettiug at some better acquaintance with it, and learn- 
ing to manage it more profitably, 

"The first thing we have to do," said the captain, 
u is to make a magnetic survey of the property. That 
is a pleasant and easy matter ; and, if it does not 
admit of entire exactness, it will be always useful, and 
will do, at any rate, for an agreeable beginning. It 
can be made, too, without any great staff of assistants ; 
and one can be sure of gettiug it completed If by 
and by you come to require anything more exact, it 
will be easy then to find some plan to have it made." 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 163 

There occurred opportunities of speaking about the 
parky and the ways of laying it out, — a far better dis- 
position of things being made possible, after a survey 
of this kind, than could be arrived at by experiment- 
ing on nature, on partial and accidental impressions. 

"We must make my wife understand this," said 
Edward. 

" We must do nothing of the kind," replied the cap- 
tain, who did not like bringing his own notions in 
collision with those of others. He had learned by 
experience that the motives and purposes by which 
men are influenced are far too various to be made to 
coalesce upon a single point, even on the most solid 
representations. " We must not do it," he cried : " she 
will be only confused. With her, as with all people 
who employ themselves on such matters merely as 
amateurs, the important thing is, rather that she shall 
do something, than that something shall be dona 
Such persons feel their way with nature. They have 
fancies for this plan or that : they do not venture on 
removing obstacles. They are not bold enough to 
make a sacrifice. They do not know beforehand in 
what their work is to result. They try an experi- 
ment — it succeeds — it fails ; they alter it ; they 
alter, perhaps, what they ought to leave alone, and 
leave what they ought to alter ; and so, at last, there 
always remains but a patchwork, which pleases and 
amuses, but never satisfies. ,, 

" Acknowledge candidly," said Edward, " that you do 
not like this new work of hers." 

" The idea is excellent," he replied : " if the execution 
were equal to it, there would be no fault to find. But 
she has tormented herself to find her way up that 
rock ; and she now torments every one, if you must 
have it, that she takes up after her. You cannot walk 
together, you cannot walk behind one another, with 
any freedom. Every moment your step is interrupted 



164 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



one way or another There is no end to the mistakes 
which she has made." 

" Would it have been easy to do it otherwise ? " asked 
Edward. 

" Very easy," replied the captain. "She had only to 
break away a corner of the rock, — which is now but 
an unsightly object, made up aa it is of little pieces, — 
and she would at onee have a sweep for her walk, and 
stone in abundance for the rough masonry work, to 
widen it iu the bad places, and make it smooth. But 
this I tell you in strictest confidence, or else it will 
confuse and annoy her. What is done must remain as 
it is. If any more money and labour are to be spent 
there, there is abundance to do above the summer* 
house on the lull, which we can settle our own way/' 

If the two friends found in their occupation abun- 
dance of present employment, there was no lack either 
of entertaining reminiscences of early times, in which 
Charlotte took her part as well. They determined* 
moreover, that> as soon as their immediate labours 
were finished, they would go to work upon the journal, 
and in this way, too, reproduce the past. 

For the rest, when Edward and Charlotte were alone, 
there were fewer matters of private interest between 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 165 

liked it: even what was wrong had become dear to 
her in its details. She fought against her convictions ; 
she pleaded for her little creations ; she railed at men 
who were for ever going to the broad and the great 
They could not let a pastime, they could not let an 
amusement, alone, she said; but they must go and 
make a work out of it, never thinking of the expense 
which their larger plans involved. She was provoked, 
annoyed, and angry. Her old plans she could not give 
up, the new she would not quite throw from her ; but, 
divided as she was, for the present she put a stop to 
the work, and gave herself time to think the thing 
over, and let it ripen by itself. 

At the same time that she lost this source of active 
amusement, the others were more and more together 
over their own businesa They took to occupying 
themselves, moreover, with the flower-garden and the 
hothouses; and, as they filled up the intervals with 
the ordinary gentlemen's amusements, — hunting, rid- 
ing, buying, selling, breaking horses, and such matters, 
— she was every day left more and more to herself. 
She devoted herself more assiduously than ever to her 
correspondence on account of the captain, and. yet she 
had many lonely hours ; so that the information which 
she now received from the school became of more 
agreeable interest. 

To a long-drawn letter of the superior of the estab- 
lishment, filled with the usual expressions of delight at 
her daughter's progress, a brief postscript was attached, 
with a second from the hand of a gentleman in employ- 
ment there as an assistant, both of which we here 
communicate. 

POSTSCRIPT OF THE SUPERIOR. 

" Of Ottilie, I can only repeat to your ladyship what 
I have already stated in my former letters. I do not 




i66 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



know how to find fault with her, yet I cannot say that 
I am satisfied. She is always unassuming, always ready 
to oblige others ; but it is not pleasing to see her so 
timid, so almost servile. 

" Your ladyship lately sent ber some money, with 
several little matters for her wardrobe. The money 
she has never touched, the dresses He unworn in their 
place. She keeps her things very nice and very clean, 
but this is all she seems to care about. Again, I can- 
not praise her excessive abstemiousness iu eating and 
drinking. There is no extravagance at our table ; but 
there is nothing I like better than to see the children 
eat enough of good, wholesome food What is care- 
fully provided and set before them ought to be taken, 
and to tliis I never can succeed in bringing Ottilie, 
She is always making herself some occupation or other, 
always finding something which she must do, something 
which the servants have neglected, to escape the sec- 
ond course or the dessert ; and now it has to he con* 
sidered (which I cannot help connecting with all this) 
that she frequently suffers, I have lately learned, from 
pain in the left side of her head It is only at times ; 
but it is distressing, and may be of importance. So 
much upon this otherwise sweet and lovely girl" 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 167 

for the good and happiness of others, and assuredly also 
for her own. Ottilie is almost our only pupil about 
whom there is a difference of opinion between myself 
and our reverend superior. I do not complain of the 
very natural desire in that good lady to see outward 
and definite fruits arising from her labours. But there 
are also fruits which are not outward, which are of the 
true germinal sort, and which develop themselves, sooner 
or later, in a beautiful life. And this I am certain is 
the case with your protSgfo. So long as she has been 
under my care, I have watched her moving with an 
even step, slowly, steadily forward — never back. As 
with a child it is necessary to begin everything at the 
beginning, so it is with her. She can comprehend 
nothing which does not follow from what precedes; 
let a thing be as simple and easy as possible, she can 
make nothing of it if it is not in a recognisable 
connection ; but find the intermediate links, and make 
them clear to her, and then nothing is too difficult for 
her. 

" Progressing so slowly, she remains behind her com- 
panions, who, with capacities of quite a different kind, 
hurry on and on, learn everything readily, connected or 
unconnected, recollect it with ease, and apply it with 
correctness. And again, some of the lessons here are 
given by excellent, but somewhat hasty and impatient, 
teachers, who pass from result to result, cutting short 
the process by which they are arrived at ; and these 
are not of the slightest service to her, she learns noth- 
ing from them. There have been complaints about her 
handwriting. They say she will not, or can not, un- 
derstand how to form her letters. I have examined 
closely into this. It is true she writes slowly, stiffly if 
you like ; but the hand is neither timid, nor without 
character. The French language is not my depart- 
ment : but I have taught her something of it, in the 
step-by-step fashion ; and this she understands easily. 



1 68 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Indeed, it is singular that she knows a great deal, and 
knows it well too ; and yet, when she is asked a ques- 
tion, it seems as if she knew nothing, 

"To conclude generally, I should say she learns 
nothing like a person who is being educated ; but she 
learns like one who is to educate, — not like a pupil, 
but like a future teacher. Your ladyship may think 
it strange that I, as an educator and a teacher, can tind 
no higher praise to give to any one than by a compari- 
son with myself. I may leave it to your own good 
sense, to your deep knowledge of the world and of 
mankind, to make the best of my most inadequate, but 
well-intended, expressions. You may satisfy yourself 
that you have much happiness to promise yourself 
from this child. I commend myself to your ladyship ; 
and I beseech you to permit me to write to you again, 
as soon as I see reason to believe that I have anything 
important or agreeable to communicate," 



This letter gave Charlotte great pleasure. The eon- 
tents of it agreed very nearly with the notions which 
she had herself conceived of Ottilia At the same time, 
she could not help smiling at the excessive interest of 
the assistant, which seemed greater than the insight 
into a pupil's excellence usually calls forth. In her 



CHAPTER IV. 

The topographical chart of the property and its 
environs was completed. It was executed on a con- 
siderable scale ; the character of the particular locali- 
ties was made intelligible by various colours ; and, by 
means of a trigonometrical survey, the captain had 
been able to arrive at a very fair exactness of measure- 
ment. He had been rapid in his work. There was 
scarcely ever any one who could do with less sleep 
than this most laborious man; and, as his day was 
always devoted to an immediate purpose, every evening 
something had been done. 

" Let us now," he said to his friend, " go on to what 
remains for us, — to the statistics of the estate. We 
shall have a deal of work to get through at the begin- 
ning; and afterward we shall come to the farm-esti- 
mates ; and much else which will naturally arise out of 
them. Only we must have one thing distinctly settled 
and adhered to. Everything which is properly business 
we must keep carefully separate from life. Business 
requires earnestness and method: life must have a 
freer handling. Business demands the utmost stringency 
and sequence: in life, inconsecutiveness is frequently 
necessary, indeed, is charming and graceful. If you 
are firm in the first, you can afford yourself more lib- 
erty in the second ; while, if you mix them, you will 
find the free interfering with, and breaking in upon, 
the fixed." 

In these sentiments Edward felt a slight reflection 
upon himself. Though not naturally disorderly, he 
could never bring himself to arrange his papers in their 

169 




170 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



proper places. What he had to do in connection with 
others was not kept separate from what only depended 
on himself. Business got mixed up with amusement, 
and serious work with recreation. Now, however, it 
was easy for him, with the help of a friend, who would 
take the trouble upon himself ; and a second " I " 
worked *out the separation, to which the single fI I m 
was always unequaL 

Tn the captain's wing, they contrived a depository 
for what concerned the present, and an archive for the 
past. Here they brought all the documents, papers, 
and notes from their various hiding-places — rooms, 
drawers, and boxes — with the utmost speed. Harmony 
and order were introduced into the wilderness, and the 
different packets were marked and registered in their 
several pigeon-holes. They found all they wanted in 
greater completeness even than they had expected ; 
and here an old clerk was found of no slight service, 
who for the whole day and part of the night never 
left his desk, and with whom, till then, Edward had 
been always dissatisfied. 

" I should not know him again," he said to biB friend, 
" the man is so handy and useful" 

* That/' replied the captain, * is because we give him 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 171 

mestic arrangements, which she had long wished to 
make, but which she did not know exactly how to set 
about, were managed for her through the contrivance 
of the captain. Her domestic medicine-chest, hitherto 
but poorly furnished, was enlarged and enriched ; and 
Charlotte herself, with the help of good books and 
personal instruction, was put in the way of being able 
to exercise her disposition to be of practical assistance 
more frequently and more efficiently than before. 

In providing against accidents, which, though com- 
mon, yet only too often find us unprepared, they 
thought it especially necessary to have at hand what- 
ever is required for the recovery of drowning men, — 
accidents of this kind, from the number of canals, 
reservoirs, and water-works in the neighbourhood, being 
of frequent occurrence. This department the captain 
took expressly into his own hands ; and the observation 
escaped Edward, that a case of this kind had made 
a very singular epoch in the life of his friend. The 
latter made no reply, but seemed to be trying to escape 
from a painful recollection. Edward immediately 
stopped; and Charlotte, who, as well as he, had a 
general knowledge of the story, took no notice of the 
expression. 

"These preparations are all exceedingly valuable," 
said the captain one evening. "Now, however, we 
have not got the one thing which is most essential, — 
a sensible man who understands how to manage it all. 
I know an army surgeon, whom I could exactly rec- 
ommend for the place. You might get him at this 
moment, on easy terms. He is highly distinguished 
in his profession, and has frequently done more for me 
in the treatment, even of violent inward disorders, 
than celebrated physicians. Help upon the spot is 
the thing you often most want in the country." 

He was written for at once : and Edward and Char- 
lotte were rejoiced to find so good and necessary an 



17* 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



object on which to expend so much of the money 
which they set apart for such accidental demands upon 
them. 

Thus Charlotte, too, found means of making use, 
for her purposes, of the captain's knowledge and 
practical skill ; and she began to be quite reconciled to 
his presence, and to feel easy about any consequences 
that might ensue. She commonly prepared questions 
to ask him ; among other things, it was one of her 
anxieties to provide against whatever was prejudicial 
to health and comfort, — against poisons and such like. 
The lead-glazing on the china, the verdigris which 
formed about her copper and bronze vessels, eta, had 
long been a trouble to her. She got him to tell her 
about these ; and, naturally, they often had to faU back 
on the first elements of medicine and chemistry. 

An accidental but welcome occasion for entertain- 
ment of this kind was given by an inclination of 
Edward to read aloud. He had a particularly clear, 
deep voice, and earlier in life had earned himself a 
pleasant reputation for his feeling and lively recitations 
of works of poetry and oratory. At this time he was 
occupied with other subjects; and the books which, 
for sometime past, he had been reading, were either 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 173 

On such occasions, therefore, he was accustomed to 
place himself in such a position that no one could get 
behind him. With a party of only three, this was 
unnecessary; and as with the present subject there 
was no opportunity for exciting feelings or giving the 
imagination a surprise, he did not take any particular 
pains to protect himself. 

One evening he had placed himself carelessly, and 
Charlotte happened by accident to cast her eyes upon 
the page. His old impatience was aroused : he turned 
to her, and said, almost unkindly : 

"I do wish, once for all, you would leave • off doing 
a thing so out of taste and so disagreeable. When I 
read aloud to a person, is it not the same as if I was 
telling him something by word of mouth? The 
written, the printed, word is in the place of my own 
thoughts, of my own heart. If a window were broken 
into my brain or into my heart, and if the man to 
whom I am counting out my thoughts, or delivering my 
sentiments, one by one, knew already beforehand ex- 
actly what was to come out of me, should I take the 
trouble to put them into words ? When anybody looks 
over my book, I always feel as if I were being torn 
in two." 

Charlotte's tact, in whatever circle she might be, 
large or small, was remarkable ; and she was able to 
set aside disagreeable or excited expressions without 
appearing to notice them. When a conversation grew 
tedious, she knew how to interrupt it ; when it halted, 
she could set it going. And this time her good gift 
did not forsake her. 

" I am sure you will forgive me my fault," she said, 
" when I [tell you what it was this moment which 
came over me. I heard you reading something about 
affinities; and I thought directly of some relations of 
mine, two of whom are just now occupying me a great 
deaL Then my attention went back to the book. I 



i 7 4 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



found it was not about living things at all, and I 
looked over to get the thread of it tight again." 

" It was the comparison which led you wrong and 
confused you/* said Edward. '* The subject is nothing 
but earths and minerals* But man is a true Narcissus t 
he delights to see his own image everywhere ; and he 
spreads himself underneath the universe, like the amal- 
gam behind the glass." 

" Quite true/* continued the captain, " That is the 
way in which he treats everything external to himself. 
His wisdom and his folly, his will and his caprice, he 
attributes alike to the animal, the plant, the elements, 
and the gods." 

'* Would you," said Charlotte, ■ if it is not taking you 
away too much from the immediate subject, tell me 
briefly what is meant here by affinities ? " 

'* 1 shall be very glad indeed," replied the captain, 
to whom Charlotte had addressed herself, ■ That is, I 
will tell you as well as I can. My ideas on the sub- 
ject date ten years back : whether the scientific world 
continues to think the same about it, I cannot tell," 

" It is most disagreeable," cried Edward, " that one 
cannot nowadays Jlearu a thing once for all, and have 
done with it Our forefathers could keep to what they 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 175 

" Whereabouts shall we begin," said Edward, after a 
pause, to the captain, " to come most quickly to the 
point?" 

The latter, after thinking a little while, replied 
shortly : 

"You must let me make what will seem a wide 
8 weep: we shall be on our subject almost imme- 
diately." 

Charlotte laid her work aside, promising the fullest 
attention. 

The captain began : 

"In all natural objects with which we are ac- 
quainted, we observe immediately that they have a 
certain relation to themselves. It may sound ridicu- 
lous to be asserting what is obvious to every one ; but 
it is only by coming to a clear understanding together 
about what we know, that we can advance to what we 
do not know." 

" I think," interrupted Edward, " we can make the 
thing more clear to her, and to ourselves, with ex- 
amples. Conceive water or oil or quicksilver : among 
these you will see a certain oneness, a certain con- 
nection of their parts ; and this oneness is never lost, 
except through force or some other determining cause. 
Let the cause cease to operate, and at once the 
parts unite again." 

" Unquestionably," said Charlotte, " that is plain : 
rain-drops readily unite and form streams ; and, when 
we were children, it was our delight to play with 
quicksilver, and wonder at the little globules splitting 
and parting, and running into one another." 

" And here," said the captain, " let me just cursorily 
mention one remarkable thing : I mean, that the full, 
complete correlation of parts, which the fluid state 
makes possible, shows itself distinctly and universally 
in the globular form. The falling water-drop is round ; 
you yourself spoke of the globules of quicksilver ; and 




ij6 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



a drop of melted lead let fall, if it has time to harden 

before it reaches the ground, is found at the bottom in 
the shape of a hall." 

" Let me try and see/' said Charlotte, " whether I 
can understand where you are bringing me, As every- 
thing has a reference to itself, so it must have some 
relation to others." 

" And that," interrupted Edward, " will be different 
according to the natural differences of the things them- 
selves. Sometimes they will meet like friends and old 
acquaintances l they will come rapidly together, and 
unite without either having to alter itself at all, — as 
wine mixes with water. Oth era, again, will remain 
as str augers side by side ; and no amount of mechan- 
ical mixing or forcing will succeed in combining them. 
Oil and water may be shaken up together j and the 
next moment they are separate again, each by itself." 

"One can almost fancy" said Charlotte, "that in 
these simple forms one sees people that one is ac- 
quainted with ; one has met with just such things 
in the societies amongst which one has lived ; and 
the strangest li ken esses of all, with these soulless crear 
tures, are in the masses in which men stand divided 
one against the other, in their classes and professions, 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 177 

tinctness ; such natures as, when they come in contact, 
at once lay hold of each other, and mutually affect one 
another, we speak of as having an affinity one for the 
other. With the alkalies and acids, for instance, 
the affinities are strikingly marked. They are of 
opposite natures : very likely their being of opposite 
natures is the secret of their effect on one another, 
— they seek one another eagerly out, lay hold of 
each other, modify each other's character, and form 
in connection an entirely new substance. There is 
lime, you remember, which shows the strongest inch- 
nation for all sorts of acids, — a distinct desire of com- 
bining with them. As soon as our chemical chest 
arrives, we can show you a number of entertaining 
experiments, which will give you a clearer idea than 
words and names and technical expressions." 

" It appears to me," said Charlotte, " that, if you 
choose to call these strange creatures of yours related, 
the relationship is not so much a relationship of blood, 
as of soul or of spirit. It is the way in which we see 
all genuinely deep friendships arise among men : oppo- 
site peculiarities of disposition being what best makes 
internal union possible. But I will wait to see what 
you can really show me of these mysterious proceed- 
ings; and for the present," she added, turning to 
Edward, " I will promise not to disturb you any more 
in your reading. You have taught me enough of what 
it is about to enable me to attend to it." 

" No, no," replied Edward : " now that you have 
once stirred the thing, you shall not get off so easily. 
It is just the most complicated cases which are the 
most interesting. In these you come first to see 
the degrees of the affinities, to watch them as their 
power of attraction is weaker or stronger, nearer or 
more remote. Affinities only begin really to interest 
when they bring about separations." 

" What ! " cried Charlotte, " is that miserable word 



i7» 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



which unhappily we hear so often nowadays in the 
world, — is that to be found in nature's lessons too ? " 

" Most certainly," answered Edward : * the title with 
which chemists were supposed to be most honourably 
distinguished was, artists of separation." 

" It is not so any more*" replied Charlotte ; " and it 
is well that it is not. Uniting is a higher art, and it is 
a higher merit. An artist of union is what we should 
welcome in every province of the universe However, 
as we are on the subject again, give me an instance or 
two of what you mean " 

(l We had better keep/' said the captain, " to the 
same instances of which we have already been speak- 
iug* Thus, what we call limestone is a more or less 
pure calcareous earth in combination with a delicate 
acid, which is familiar to us in the form of a gas. 
Now, if we place a piece of this stone in diluted sul- 
phuric acid, this will take possession of the lime, and 
appear with it in the form of gypsum, the gaseous acid 
at the same time going off in vapour. Here is a case of 
separation ; a combination arises, and we believe our- 
selves now justified in applying to it the words * elect- 
ive affinity ; ' it really looks as if one relation had 
been deliberately chosen in preference to another." 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 179 

to get connected with water, and so serve as a mineral 
fountain for the refreshing of both the healthy and 
sick." 

" That is very well for the gypsum to say," said 
Charlotte. " The gypsum is all right, is a body, is pro- 
vided for. The other poor, desolate creature may have 
trouble enough to go through before it can find a 
second home for itself." 

"I am much mistaken," said Edward, smiling, "if 
there be not some little arridre pensSe behind this. 
Confess your wickedness ! You mean me by your 
lime : the lime is laid hold of by the captain, in the 
form of sulphuric acid, torn away from your agreeable 
society, and metamorphosed into a refractory gypsum.* 

"If your conscience prompts you to make such a 
reflection," replied Charlotte, " I certainly need not 
distress myself. These comparisons are pleasant and 
entertaining ; and who is there that does not like play- 
ing with analogies? But man is raised very many 
steps above these elements ; and, if he has been some- 
what liberal with such fine words as ' election ' and 
' elective affinities/ he will do well to turn back again 
into himself, and take the opportunity of considering 
carefully the value and meaning of such expressions. 
Unhappily, we know cases enough where an apparently 
indissoluble connection between two persons has, by 
the accidental introduction of a third, been utterly 
destroyed, and one or the other of the once happily 
united pair been driven out into the wilderness." 

" Then, you see how much more gallant the chemists 
are," said Edward. " They at once add a fourth, that 
neither may go away empty." 

"Quite so," replied the captain. "And those are 
the cases which are really most important and re- 
markable, — cases where this attraction, this affinity, 
this separating and combining, can be exhibited, the 
two pairs severally crossing each other; where four 




iSo 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



creatures, connected previously, as two and two, are 

brought into contact, and at once forsake tlieir first 
combination to form into a second. In this forsaking 
and embracing, this seeking and flying, we believe that 
we are indeed observing the effects of some higher 
determination: we attribute a sort of will and choice 
to such creatures, and feel really justified in using 
technical words, and speaking of ■ elective affinities/ n 
" Give me an instance of this, 1 ' said Charlotte, 
" Such things ought not to be settled with words/ 1 
replied the captain, " As I said before, as soon as I 
can show you the experiment, I can make it all in- 
telligible and pleasant for you. For the present, I can 
give you nothing but horrible scientific expressions, 
which at the same time wiU give you no idea about 
the matter. You ought yourself to see these sub- 
stances which seem so dead, and which are yet so full 
of inward euergy and force, at work before your eyea 
You should observe them with a real personal interest. 
Now they seek each other out, attract each other, seize, 
crush, devour, destroy, each other, and then suddenly 
reappear again out of their combinations, and come 
forward in fresh, renovated, unexpected form : thus 
yon will comprehend how we attribute to them a sort 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 181 

that all sorts of means, even violence, have been made 
use of to separate them, without effect. Then suppose 
a C in exactly the same position with respect to D. 
Bring the two pairs into contact : A will fling himself 
on D, C on B, without its being possible to say which 
had first left its first connection, or made the first move 
toward the second." 

" Now, then," interposed Edward, " till we see all 
this with our eyes, we will look upon the formula as 
an analogy, out of which we can devise a lesson for 
immediate use. Tou stand for A, Charlotte, and I am 
your B : really and truly I cling to you, I depend on 
you, and follow you, just as B does with A. C is 
obviously the captain, who at present is in some 
degree withdrawing me from you. So now it is only 
just, that, if you are not to be left to solitude, a D 
should be found for you ; and that is unquestionably 
the amiable little lady, Ottilie. Tou will not hesitate 
any longer to send and fetch her." 

" All right," replied Charlotte ; " although, in my 
opinion, the example does not exactly fit our case. 
However, we have been fortunate, at any rate, in to- 
day for once having met all together; and these 
natural or elective affinities have served to unite us 
more intimately. I will tell you, that, since this 
afternoon, I have made up my mind to send for Ottilie. 
My faithful housekeeper, on whom I have hitherto 
depended for everything, is going to leave me shortly, 
to be married. This is my motive, as far as / am 
concerned. What has decided me on account of Ottilie, 
you shall read to me. I will not again look on whilst 
you are reading. Indeed, the contents of these pages 
are already known to me. But read, read ! " 

With these words, she produced a letter, and handed 
it to Edward. 



CHAPTER V. 



LETTEK OF THE LADY SUPERIOR. 



"Yoxra ladyship will forgive the brevity of my 
present letter. The public examinations are but just 
concluded, and I have to communicate to all the 
parents and guardians the progress our pupils have 
made during the past year. I can a fiord to be brief, 
having to say much in few words. Your ladyship's 
daughter has proved herself first, in every sense of the 
word. The testimonials I eu close, and her own letter, 
in which she will detail to you the prizes she has won, 
and the happiness she feels in her suceess, will surely 
please, and, I hope, delight you. For myself, it is the 
less necessary that I should say much, because I see 
that there will soon be no more occasion to keep with 
us a young lady so far advanced. I send my respects 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 183 

is to show out what lies in her, and what she is capable 
of, I was all along afraid of this public examination. 
I was the more uneasy, as it was to be of a kind which 
does not admit of any special preparation ; and, even 
if it had been conducted as usual, Ottilie never can be 
prepared to make a display. The result has justified 
my anxiety only too well. She has not received any 
prize: she is not even amongst those whose names 
have been mentioned with approbation. I need not 
go into details. As for handwriting, the letters of the 
other girls were not so well formed, but their strokes 
were much more free. In arithmetic they were all 
quicker than she ; and in the more difficult problems, 
which she does the best, there was no examination. 
In French she was outshone and out-talked by many ; 
and in history she was not ready with her names and 
dates. In geography there was a want of attention to 
the political divisions; and for what she could do in 
music, there was neither time nor quiet enough for her 
few modest melodies to gain attention. In drawing 
she certainly would have gained the prize : her outlines 
were clear, and the execution most careful and full of 
spirit; unhappily she had chosen too wide a subject, 
and had not completed it. 

" After the pupils had been dismissed, the examiners 
consulted together ; and we teachers were partially 
admitted into the council. I very soon observed that 
of Ottilie nothing was said ; or, when her name was 
mentioned, it was done with indifference, if not with 
downright disapproval. I hoped to obtain some favour 
for her by a candid description of what she was ; and I 
ventured it with the greater earnestness, partly because 
I was only speaking my real convictions, and partly 
because, when I was young, I. had been in the same 
unfortunate case. I was listened to with attention ; but, 
as soon as I had ended, the presiding examiner said to 
me very kindly but laconically : ' We presume capa- 



I&4 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



bilities : they are to be converted Into accomplishments. 
This is the aim of all education. It is what is dis- 
tinctly intended by all who have the care of children, 
and silently and indistinctly by the children them* 
selves. This also is the object of examinations, when 
both teachers aod pupils are on their trial From what 
we learn of you, we may entertain good hopes of the 
young lady : and it is to your own credit also that you 
have paid bo much attention to your pupil's capa- 
bilities. If in the coming year you can develop these 
into accomplishments, neither yourself nor your pupil 
shall fail to receive your due praise. 1 

" I had made up my mind to what must follow all 
this ; but there was something worse which I had not 
anticipated, and which had soon to be added to it 
Our good superior, who, resembling a trusty shepherd, 
could not bear to have one of her flock lost, or, as was 
the case here, one entrusted to her charge undistin- 
guished, could not, when the examiners were gone, 
conceal her displeasure, and said to Ottilie, who was 
quietly standing by the window, while the others were 
exulting over their prizes, ' Tell me, for heaven's sake I 
how can a person look so stupid, if she is not so?* 
Ottilie replied quite calmly, ' Forgive me, my dear 















ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 185 

her calm, quiet way, ' This is not the last day of ex- 
amination.' < But you will always be the last, for all 
that ! ' cried the other, and ran away. 

"No one except myself saw that Ottilie was dis- 
turbed. She has a way, when she experiences any 
sharp, unpleasant emotion which she wishes to resist, 
of showing it in the unequal colour of her face : the 
left cheek becomes for a moment flushed, while the 
right turns pale. I perceived this symptom, and could 
not help saying something. I took our superior aside, 
and spoke seriously to her about it. The excellent 
lady acknowledged that she had been wrong. We 
considered the whole affair, and talked it over at great 
length together: and, not to weary your ladyship, I 
will tell you at once the desire with which we con- 
cluded ; namely, that you will have Ottilie stay with 
you for awhile. Our reasons you will yourself readily 
perceive. If you consent, I will say more to you on 
the manner in which I think she should be treated. 
Your daughter, we may expect, will soon leave 
us ; and we shall then with pleasure welcome Ottilie 
back. 

" One thing more, which another time I might forget 
to mention : I have never seen Ottilie eager for any- 
thing, or at least ask pressingly for anything; but 
there have been occasions, however rare, when, on the 
other hand, she has wished to decline things which 
had been pressed upon her; and she does it with a 
gesture which to those who have caught its meaning 
is irresistible. She raises her hands, presses the palms 
together, and draws them against her breast, leaning 
her body a little forward at the same time, and turns 
such a look on the person urging her, that he will 
gladly forego what he may have wished of her. If 
your ladyship ever sees this attitude, as with your 
treatment of her it is not likely that you will, think 
of me, and spare Ottilie." 




i86 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Edward read these letters aloud, not without smiles, 
and shakes of the head. Naturally, too, there were 
observations made on the persons and on the position 
of the affair 

" Tis well ! " Edward cried at last : * it is decided. 
She is coming. You, my love, are provided for; and 
now we can get forward with our work. It is becom- 
ing highly necessary for me to remove to the right 
wing, where the captain resides ; evenings and morn- 
ings are the time for us best to work together : and 
then you, on your side, will have admirable room for 
yourself and Ottilie." 

Charlotte made no objection, and Edward sketched 
out the method in which they should live. One of his 
remarks was, " It is really very polite, on the part of 
your niece, tu be subject to a slight pain on the left 
side of her head. I have it frequently on the right 
If we happen to be afflicted at the same time, and sit 
opposite one another, I leaning on my right elbow, and 
she on her left, and our heads turned to opposite sides, 
and resting on our hands, what a pretty pair of pictures 
we shall make ! " 

The captain thought that might be dangerous, • No, 
no i " cried out Edward. " Only do you, my dear friend, 
take care of the D ; for what will become of B. if poor 



CHAPTER VI 

The carriage which brought Ottilie drove up to the 
door. Charlotte went out to receive her. The dear 
girl ran to meet her, threw herself at her feet, and 
embraced her knees. 

"Why such humility?" said Charlotte, a little 
embarrassed, and endeavouring to raise her from the 
ground. 

"It is not meant for humility," Ottilie answered, 
without moving from the position in which she had 
placed herself : " I am only thinking of the time when 
I could not reach higher than to your knees, and when 
I had just learned to know how you loved me." 

She rose, and Charlotte embraced her warmly. She 
was introduced to the gentlemen, and was at once 
treated with especial courtesy as a visitor. Beauty is 
a welcome guest everywhere. She appeared attentive 
to the conversation, without taking part in it. 

The next morning Edward said to Charlotte, " What 
an agreeable, entertaining girl she is ! " 

" Entertaining ! " answered Charlotte, with a smile : 
" why, she has not opened her lips yet." 

"Indeed!" said Edward, as he seemed to bethink 
himself : " that is very strange." 

Charlotte had to give the newcomer but a very few 
hints on the management of the household. Ottilie 
saw rapidly all the arrangements ; and, what was more, 
she felt them. She comprehended easily what was to 
be provided for the whole party, and what for each 
particular member of it. Everything was done with 

187 



i$S 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



the utmost punctuality : she knew how to direct, with- 
out appearing to be giving orders ; and, when any one 
had left anything undone, she at once set it right 
herself. 

As soon as she had found how much time she would 
have to spare, she begged Charlotte to divide he? hours 
for her ; and to these she adhered exactly. She worked 
at what was set before her in the way which the 
assistant had described to Charlotte. They let her 
alone. It was but seldom that Charlotte interfered. 
Sometimes she changed her pens for others which had 
been written with, to teach her to make bolder strokes 
in her handwriting; but these, she found, would be 
soon cut sharp and fine again. 

The ladies had agreed to speak nothing hut French 
when alone ; and Charlotte insisted on it the more, as 
Ottilie was more talkative, when speaking a foreign 
language, when she had been told it was her duty to 
exercise herself in it. In this way she ofteu said more 
than she seemed to intend. Charlotte was particularly 
pleased with a description, most complete, but at the 
same time most charming and amiable, winch she gave 
her one day, by accident, of the school She soon felt 
her to be a delightful companion, and hoped to find, 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 189 

but much she already knew became of greater meaning 
and importance. Ottilie's moderation in eating and 
drinking, for instance, became a real distress to her. 

The next thing on which the ladies were employed 
was Ottilie's toilet. Charlotte wished her to appear in 
clothes of a richer and more recherchS sort; and at 
once the clever, active girl herself cut out the stuff 
which had been previously sent to her, and, with a very 
little assistance from others, was able, in a short time, 
to dress most tastefully. The new fashionable dresses 
set off her figure. An agreeable person, it is true, will 
show through all disguises; but we always fancy it 
looks fresher and more graceful when its peculiarities 
appear under some new drapery. And thus, from the 
moment of her first appearance, she became more and 
more a delight to the eyes of all who beheld her. As 
the emerald refreshes the sight with its beautiful hues, 
and exerts, it is said, a beneficent influence on that 
noble sense: so does human beauty work with far 
greater potency on both the outward and inward sense ; 
whoever looks upon it is charmed against the breath of 
evil, and feels in harmony with himself and with the 
world. 

In many ways, therefore, the party had gained by 
Ottilie's arrival The captain and Edward kept regu- 
larly to the hours, even to the minutes, for their gen- 
eral meeting together. They never kept the others 
waiting for them, either for dinner or tea, or for their 
walks ; and they were in less haste, especially in the 
evenings, to leave the table. This did not escape Char- 
lotte's observation : she watched them both, to see 
whether one, more than the other, was the occasion of 
it. But she could not perceive any difference. They 
had both become more companionable. In their con- 
versation they seemed to consider what was best 
adapted to interest Ottilie, what was most on a level 
with her capacities and her general knowledge. If she 



j$o 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



left the room when they were reading or telling stories, 
they would wait till she returned. They had grown 
softer, and altogether more united. 

In return for this, Ottilie's anxiety to be of use 
increased every day : the more she came to understand 
the house, its inmates, and their circumstances, the 
more eagerly she entered into everything, caught every 
look and every motion ; half a word, a sound, was 
enough for her. With her calm attentive ness, and her 
easy, unexcited activity, she was always the same. Sit- 
ting, rising up, going, coming, fetching, carrying, return- 
ing to her place again, it was all in the most perfect 
repose ; a constant change, a constant agreeable move- 
ment; while, at the same time, she went about so 
lightly that her step was almost inaudible. 

This becoming obligingness in Ottilie gave Charlotte 
the greatest pleasure, There was one thing, however, 
which she did not exactly like, of which she had to 
speak to her. " It is very polite in you," she said one 
day to her, " when people let anything fall from their 
hand, to be so quick in stooping and picking it up for 
them : at the same time, it is a sort of confession that 
they have a right to require such attention ; and, in 
the world, we are expected to be careful to whom we 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 191 

things, however, made a deep impression upon me, 
among which was the following: when Charles the 
First of England was standing before his so-called 
judges, the gold top came off the stick which he had 
in his hand, and fell down. Accustomed as he had 
been on such occasions to have everything done for 
him, he seemed to look around, and expect that this 
time, too, some one would do him this little service. 
No one stirred, and he stooped down for it himself. 
It struck me as so piteous, that from that moment I 
have never been able to see any one let a thing fall, 
without picking it up myself. But of course, as it is 
not always proper, and as I cannot," she continued, 
smiling, " tell my story every time I do it, in future I 
will try and contain myself." 

In the meantime the fine arrangements the two 
friends had been led to make for themselves went un- 
interruptedly forward. Every day they found some- 
thing new to think about and undertake. 

One day as they were walking together through the 
village, they had to remark with dissatisfaction how 
far behindhand it was in order and cleanliness, com- 
pared to villages where the inhabitants were compelled 
by the expense of building-ground to be careful about 
such things. 

" You remember a wish we once expressed when we 
were travelling in Switzerland together," said the cap- 
tain, " that we might have the laying out some country 
park, and how beautiful we would make it by intro- 
ducing into some village situated like this, not the 
Swiss style of building, but the Swiss order and neat- 
ness which so much improve it." 

" And how well it would answer here ! The hill on 
which the castle stands slopes down to that projecting 
angle. The village, you see, is built in a semicircle, 
regularly enough, just opposite to it. The brook runs 
between. It is liable to floods; and do observe the 



f$2 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



way the people set about protecting themselves from 
them : one with stones, another with stakes ; the next 
puts up a boarding, and a fourth tries beams and 
planks ; no one, of course, doing any good to another 
with his arrangement, but only hurting himself and 
the rest too. And then, there is the road going along 
just in the clumsiest way possible, — up hill and 
down, through the water, and over the stones. If the 
people would only lay their hands to the business 
together, it would cost them nothing but a little labour 
to run a semicircular wall along here, take the road in 
behind it, raising it to the level of the houses, and so 
give themselves a fair open space in front, making the 
whole place clean, and getting rid, once for all, in one 
good general work, of all their little tr iflin g ineffectual 
makeshifts." 

" Let us try it," said the captain, as he ran his eyes 
over the lay of the ground, and saw quickly what was 
to be done. 

"I can undertake nothing in company with peasants 
and shopkeepers," replied Edward, "unless I may have 
unrestricted authority over them." 

a You are not so wrong in that," returned the car> 
!iU iin : U T have experienced too much trouble myself in 
matters of that kind. How difficult it is to pre- 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 193 

row ; and, if it comes to a point where with some gen- 
eral arrangement one person will gain while another 
will lose, there is no prevailing on them to strike a 
balance. Works of public advantage can only be car- 
ried through by an uncontrolled absolute authority." 

While they were standing and talking, a man came 
up begging. He looked more impudent than if he 
were really in want ; and Edward, who was annoyed 
at being interrupted, after two or three fruitless at- 
tempts to get rid of him by a gentler refusal, spoke 
sharply to him. The fellow began to grumble and 
mutter abusively : he went off with short steps, talking 
about the right of beggars. It was all very well to 
refuse them an alms, but that was no reason why they 
should be insulted. A beggar, and everybody else too, 
was as much under God's protection as a lord. It put 
Edward out of all patience. 

The captain, to pacify him, said, " Let us make use 
of this as an occasion for extending our rural police 
arrangements to such cases. We are bound to give 
away money; but we do better in not giving it ii 
person, especially at home. We should be moderate 
and uniform in everything, in our charities as in all 
else : too great liberality attracts beggars instead of 
helping them on their way. At the same time, ^ * 
is no harm when one is on a journey, or passing 
through a strange place, in appearing to a poor man 
in the street in the form of a chance deity of fortune, 
and making him some present which shall surprise 
him. The position of the village and of the castle 
makes it easy for us to put our charities here on a 
proper footing. I have thought about it before. The 
public-house is at one end of the village, a respectable 
old couple live at the other. At each of these places 
deposit a small sum of money ; and let every beggar, 
not as he comes in, but as he goes out, receive some- 
thing. Both houses lie on the roads which lead to the 



194 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



castle, so that any one who goes there can be referred 
to one or the other." 

" Come/ 1 said Edward, « we will settle that on the 
spot. The exact sum can he made up another time/* 

They went to the innkeeper, and to the old couple ; 
and the thing was done, 

"* I know very well," Edward said, as they were 
walking up the hill to the castle together, M that every- 
thing in this world depends on distinctness of idea, 
and firmness of purpose* Your judgment of what my 
wife has been doing in the park was entirely right, and 
you have already given me a hint how it might be 
improved. I will not deny that I told her of it" 

" So I have been led to suspect," replied the captain, 
"and I could not approve of your having done so. 
You have perplexed her, She has left off doing any- 
thing, and on tins one subject she is vexed with ua 
She avoids speaking of it She has never since invited 
us to go with her to the summer-house, although at 
odd hours she goes up there with Ottilie." 

" We must not allow ourselves to be deterred by 
that," answered Edward, H If I am once convinced 
about anything good, which could and should be done, 
1 can never rest till I see it done. We are clever 



The chart . . . -u\rs brought .///./ sph ad oitT 

I'h«.iUij;i;i\ u:-' fr«>m a painting '»y V. Siimui 






* 







ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 195 

advantages of the locality. From these to their own 
property and their own grounds the transition was easy. 

Everybody was pleased. The chart which the cap- 
tain had sketched was brought and spread out. The 
only difficulty was, that they could not entirely free 
themselves of the plan in which Charlotte had begun. 
However, an easier way up the hill was found : a lodge 
was suggested to be built on the height at the edge 
of the cliff, which was to have an especial reference to 
the castle. It was to form a conspicuous object from 
the castle windows ; and from it the spectator was to 
be able to overlook both the castle and the garden. 

The captain had carefully considered it all, and 
taken his measurements; and now he brought up 
again the village road and the wall by the brook, and 
the ground which was to be raised behind it. 

" Here you see," said he, " while I make this charm- 
ing walk up the height, I gain exactly the quantity of 
stone which I require for that wall. Let one piece of 
work help the other, and both will be carried out most 
satisfactorily and most rapidly." 

" But now," said Charlotte, " comes my side of the 
business. A certain definite outlay of money will 
have to be made. We ought to know how much 
will be wanted for such a purpose, and then we can 
apportion it out : so much work, and so much money, 
if not by weeks, at least by months. The cash-box is 
under my charge. I pay the bills, and I keep the 
accounts." 

"You do not appear to have overmuch confidence 
in us," said Edward. 

" I have not much in arbitrary matters," Charlotte 
answered. "Where it is a case of inclination, we 
women know better how to control ourselves than 
you." 

It was settled : the dispositions were made, and the 
work was begun at once. 



196 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



The captain being always on the spot, Charlotte was 
an almost daily witness of the strength and clearness 
of his understanding. He, too, learned to know her 
better ; and it became easy for them both to work to- 
gether, and thus bring something to completeness. It 
is with work as with dancing, — persons who keep 
the same step must grow indispensable to one another. 
Out of this a mutual kindly feeling will necessarily 
arise; and that Charlotte had a real kind feeling to- 
ward the captain, after she came to know him better, 
was sufficiently proved by her allowing him to destroy 
her pretty seat, — which in her first plans she had 
taken such pains in ornamenting, — because it was in 
the way of his own, without experiencing the slightest 
feeling about the matter. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Now that Charlotte was occupied with the captain, 
it was a natural consequence that Edward should 
attach himself more to Ottilie. Independently of this, 
indeed, for some time past he had begun to feel a 
silent kind of attraction toward her. Obliging and 
attentive she was to every one, but his self-love whis- 
pered that toward him she was particularly so. She 
had observed his little fancies about his food. She 
knew exactly what things he liked, and the way in 
which he liked them to be prepared; the quantity 
of sugar which he liked in his tea, and so on. More- 
over, she was particularly careful to prevent draughts, 
about which he was excessively sensitive ; and, indeed, 
about which with his wife, who could never have air 
enough, he was often at variance. So, too, she had 
come to know about fruit-gardens and flower-gardens ; 
whatever he liked, it was her constant effort to pro- 
cure for him, and to keep away whatever annoyed 
him ; so that very soon she grew indispensable to him : 
she became like his guardian angel, and he felt it 
keenly whenever she was absent. Besides all this, 
too, she appeared to become more open and talkative 
as soon as they were alone together. 

Edward, as he advanced in life, had retained some- 
thing childish about himself, which corresponded sin- 
gularly well with the youthfulness of Ottilie. They 
liked talking of early times, when they had first seen 
each other; and these reminiscences led them up to 
the first epoch of Edward's affection for Charlotte. 
Ottilie declared that she remembered them both as the 

197 



igS 



ELECTJVE AFFINITIES 



handsomest pair at court ; and when Edward would 
question the possibility of this, when she must have 
been so exceedingly young, she insisted that she recol- 
lected one particular incident as clearly as possible. 
He had come into the room where her aunt was ; and 
she had hid her face in Charlotte's lap, not from fear, 
but from a childish surprise, She might have added, 
because he had made so strong an impression upon 
her, — because she had liked him so much. 

While they were occupied in this way, much of the 
business which the two friends had undertaken to- 
gether had come to a standstill ; so that they found 
it necessary to inspect how things were going on, — 
to work up a few designs and get letters written. For 
this purpose, they betook themselves to their office, 
where they found their old copyist at his desk. They 
set to work, and soon gave the old man enough to do, 
without observing that they were laying many things 
on his shoulders which at other times they had always 
done for themselves. At the same time, the first de- 
sign the captain tried would not answer ; and Edward 
was as unsuccessful with his first letter* They fretted 
for awhile, planning and erasing ; till at last Edward, 
who was getting on the worst, asked what o'clock it 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 199 

duces a visible effervescence, and runs foaming over 
the edge. 

With our friends, the feelings which were mutually 
arising had the most agreeable effects. Their dispo- 
sitions opened out, and a general good-will arose out 
of the several individual affections. Every member of 
the party was happy, and they each shared their 
happiness with the rest. 

Such a temper elevates the spirit while it enlarges 
the heart ; and everything which, under the influence 
of it, people do and undertake, has a tendency toward 
the illimitable. The friends could no longer remain 
shut up at home: their walks extended themselves 
farther and farther. Edward would hurry on before 
with Ottilie, to choose the path or pioneer the way; 
and the captain and Charlotte would follow quietly 
on the track of their more hasty precursors, talking 
on some grave subject, or delighting themselves with 
some spot they had newly discovered, or some un- 
expected natural beauty. 

One day their walk led them down from the gate 
at the right wing of the castle, in the direction of the 
hotel, and thence over the bridge toward the ponds, 
along the sides of which they proceeded as far as it 
was generally thought possible to follow the water; 
thickly wooded hills sloping directly up from the 
edge, and beyond these a wall of steep rocks, making 
farther progress difficult, if not impossible. But 
Edward, whose hunting experience had made him 
thoroughly familiar with the spot, pushed forward 
along an overgrown path with Ottilie, knowing well 
that the old mill could not be far off, which was some- 
where in the middle of the rocks there. The path was 
so little frequented, that they soon lost it; and for 
a short time they were wandering among mossy stones 
and thickets : it was not for long, however ; the noise 
of the water-wheel speedily telling them that the 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



place which they were looking for was close at hand. 
Stepping forward on a point of rock, they saw the 
strange, old, dark wooden building in the hollow before 
them, quite shadowed over with precipitous crags and 
huge trees. They determined without hesitation to 
descend across the moss and the blocks of stone, 
Edward led the way ; and when he looked back and 
saw Ottilie following, stepping lightly, without fear or 
nervousness, from stone to stone, so beautifully balanc- 
ing herRelf, he fancied he was looking at some celestial 
creature floating above him ; while if, as she often did, 
she caught the hand which in some difficult spot he 
would offer her, or if she supported herself on his 
shoulder, then he was left in no doubt that it was a 
very exquisite human creature who touched him. He 
almost wished that she might slip or stumble, that 
be might catch her in his arms and press her to his 
heart. This, however, he would under no circum- 
stances have done, for more than one reason. He was 
afraid to wound her, and he was afraid to do her some 
bodily injury. 

What the meaning of this could be, we shall im me- 
diately learn. Wheu they bad got down, and were 
seated opposite each other at a table under the trees, 
and when the miller's wife had gone for milk, and the 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 201 

are carrying anything, if the carriage swings violently, 
if we are pushing through bushes, or just now, as 
we were coming down these rocks, make me ex- 
tremely anxious on your account. Any unforeseen 
blow, a fall, a touch, may be fatally injurious to you ; 
and I am terrified at the possibility of it. For my 
sake do this: put away the picture, not out of your 
affections, not out of your room ; let it have the bright- 
est, the holiest place which you can give it ; only do 
not wear upon your breast a thing the presence of 
which seems to me, perhaps from an extravagant 
anxiety, so dangerous." 

OttUie was silent : while he was speaking, she had 
kept her eyes fixed straight before her ; then, without 
hesitation and without haste, with a look turned more 
toward heaven than on Edward, she unclasped the 
chain, drew out the picture, and pressed it against 
her forehead, and then reached it over to her Mend, 
with the words : 

" Keep it for me till we get home : I cannot give you 
a better proof how deeply I thank you for your affec- 
tionate care." 

He did not venture to press the picture to his lips ; 
but he seized her hand, and raised it to his eyes. They 
were perhaps two of the most beautiful hands which 
had ever been clasped together. He felt as if a stone 
had fallen from his heart, as if a partition-wall had 
been thrown down between him and Ottilie. 

Under the miller's guidance, Charlotte and the cap- 
tain came down by an easier path, and now joined 
them. There was the meeting, and a happy talk ; and 
then they took some refreshments. They would not 
return by the same way as they came ; and Edward 
struck into a rocky path on the other side of the stream, 
from which the ponds were again to be seen. They 
made their way along it with some effort, and then had 
to cross a variety of wood and copse, getting glimpses, 



J02 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



on the land side, of a number of villages, and manor* 
houses with their green lawns and fruit-gardens ; while 
very near them, and sweetly situated on a rising ground, 
a farm lay in the middle of the wood. From a gentle 
ascent, they had a view before and behind which 
showed them the richness of the country to the greats 
est advantage j and then, entering a grove of trees, they 
found themselves, on again emerging from it, on the 
rock opposite the castle. 

They came upon it rather unexpectedly, and were of 
course delighted, They had made the circuit of a 
little world : they were standing on the spot where the 
new building was to lie erected, and were looking again 
at the windows of their own home. 

They went down to the summer-house, and sat all 
four in it for the first time together : nothing was 
more natural than that with one voice it should be 
proposed to have the way they had been that day, and 
which, as it was, had taken them much time and 
trouble, properly laid out and gravelled, so that people 
might loiter along it at their leisure. They each said 
what they thought; and they reckoned up that the 
circuit, over which they had taken many hours, might 
be travelled easily, with a good road all the way r- mud 




diinBMMKMaBtfHM 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 203 

quire ; and thus, having gained an invaluable walk, we 
shall receive the interest of well-expended capital in 
substantial enjoyment, instead of, as now, in the sum- 
ming up at the end of the year, vexing and fretting our- 
selves over the pitiful little income which is returned 
for it." 

Even Charlotte, with all her prudence, had little to 
urge against this. There had been, indeed, a previous 
intention of selling the farm. The captain was ready 
immediately with a plan for breaking up the ground 
into small portions among the peasantry of the forest. 
Edward, however, had a simpler and shorter way of 
managing it. His present steward had already pro- 
posed to take it off his hands : he was to pay for it by 
instalments, and so gradually, as the money came in, 
they would get their work forward from point to 
point. 

So reasonable and prudent a scheme was sure of 
universal approbation ; and they began already in pros- 
pect to see their new walk winding along its way, and 
to imagine the many beautiful views and charming spots 
which they hoped to discover in its neighbourhood. 

To bring it all before them with greater fulness of 
detail, in the evening they produced the new chart. 
With the help of this they went over again the way 
that they had come, and found various places where 
the walk might take a rather different direction with 
advantage. Their other scheme was now once more 
talked through, and connected with the fresh design. 
The site for the new house in the park, opposite the 
castle, was a second time examined into and approved, 
and fixed upon for the termination of the intended 
circuit. 

Ottilie had said nothing all this time. At length 
Edward pushed the chart, which had hitherto been 
lying before Charlotte, across to her, begging her to 
give her opinion: she still hesitated for a moment. 



204 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Edward in his gentlest way again pressed her to let 
them know what she thought: nothing had as yet 
been settled, it was all as yet in embryo* 

u I would have the house built here/ she said, as she 
pointed with her finger to the highest point of the 
slope on the hill " It is true you cannot see the castle 
from there, for it is hidden by the wood ; but for that 
very reason you find yourself in another quite new 
world : you lose village and houses and all at the same 
time. The view of the ponds, with the mill, and the 
hills and mountains in the distance, is singularly 
beautiful. I noticed it when passing/ 

■* She is right I " Edward cried ; * how could we have 
overlooked it ? This is what you mean, Ottilia, is it 
not ? " He took a lead-pencil, and drew a great black 
rectangular figure on the summit of the hill. 

It pierced the captain's soul to see his carefully and 
clearly drawn chart disfigured in such a way. He col- 
lected himself, however, after a slight expression of 
his disapproval, and took up the idea. " Ottilie is 
right," he said : " we are ready enough to walk any 
distance to drink tea or eat fish, because they would 
not have tasted as well at home : we require change 
of scene and change of objects. Your ancestors showed 



CHAPTER Vm. 

Early the following morning, the captain examined 
the spot. He first threw off a sketch of what should 
be done ; and afterward, when the thing had been 
more completely decided on, he made a complete 
design, with accurate calculations and measurements. 
It cost him a good deal of labour, and the business 
connected with the sale of the farm had to be gone 
into : so that both the gentlemen now found a fresh im- 
pulse to activity. 

The captain made Edward observe that it would 
be proper, indeed that it would be a kind of duty, to 
celebrate Charlotte's birthday with laying the founda- 
tion-stone. Not much was wanted to overcome 
Edward's disinclination for such festivities; for he 
quickly recollected, that, a little later, Ottilie's birth- 
day would follow, and that he could have a magnifi- 
cent celebration for that. 

Charlotte, to whom all this work and what it would 
involve was a subject for much serious and almost 
anxious thought, busied herself in carefully going 
through the time and outlay which it was calculated 
would be expended on it. During the day they rarely 
saw each other: so that the evening meeting was 
looked forward to with all the more anxiety. 

Ottilie was, in the meantime, complete mistress of 
the household; and how could it be otherwise, with 
her quick, methodical ways of working ? Indeed, her 
whole mode of thought was suited better to home-life 
than to the world, and to a more free existence. Ed- 
» 205 



2d6 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



ward soon observed that she only walked about with 
them out of a desire to please; that, when she stayed 
out late with them in the evening, it was because she 
thought it a sort of social duty ; and that she would 
often find a pretext in some household matter for go- 
ing in again, — consequently, he soon managed so to 
arrange the walks they took together, that they should 
he at home before sunset ; and he began again, what 
he had long left off, to read aloud poetry, particularly 
such as had for its subject the expression of a pure but 
passionate love. 

They ordinarily sat in the evening in the same places 
round a small table, — Charlotte on the sofa, Ottilie on 
a chair opposite to her, and the gentlemen ou each sida 
Ottilie's place was on Edward's right, the side where 
he put the candle when he was reading ; at such times 
she would draw her chair a little nearer, to look over 
him ; for Ottilie also trusted her own eyes better than 
another person's lips; and Edward would then always 
make a move toward her, that it might be as easy as 
possible for her, — - indeed, he would frequently make 
longer stops than necessary, that he might not turn 
over before she had got to the bottom of the page, 

Charlotte and the captain observed this, and would 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 207 

ure. " I think perhaps I can," Ottilie answered. She 
brought the music, and sat down to the instrument. 
The others listened, and were sufficiently surprised to 
hear how perfectly Ottilie had taught herself the 
piece ; but far more surprised were they at the way in 
which she contrived to adapt herself to Edward's style 
of playing. Adapt herself is not the right expression : 
Charlotte's skill and power enabled her, in order to 
please her husband, to keep up with him when he 
played too fast, and hold in for him if he hesi- 
tated ; but Ottilie, who had several times heard them 
play the sonata together, seemed to have learned 
it according to the idea in which they accompanied 
each other: she had so completely made his defects 
her own, that a kind of living whole resulted from it, 
which did not move, indeed, according to exact rule ; 
but the effect of it was in the highest degree pleasant 
and delightful. The composer himself would have 
been pleased to hear his work disfigured in so charm- 
ing a manner. 

Charlotte and the captain watched this strange, un- 
expected occurrence in silence, with the kind of feeling 
with which we often observe the actions of children, 
— unable, exactly, to approve of them, from the serious 
consequences which may follow, and yet without being 
able to find fault, perhaps with a kind of envy. For, 
indeed, the regard of these two for one another was 
growing also, as well as that of the others ; and it was, 
perhaps, only the more perilous because they were 
both more staid, more certain of themselves, and 
better able to restrain themselves. 

The captain had already begun to feel that a habit 
he could not resist was threatening to bind him to 
Charlotte. He forced himself to stay away at the 
hour when she commonly used to be at the works ; by 
getting up very early in the morning, he contrived to 
finish there whatever he had to do, and retired to the 



2 08 



ELECTJVE AFFINITIES 



castle, in order to work in his own room- The first 
day or two Charlotte thought it was an accident : she 
looked for him in every place where she thought he 
might possibly be. Then she thought she understood 
him, and admired him all the more. 

Avoiding, as the captain now did, being alone with 
Charlotte, the more industriously did he labour to 
hurry forward the preparations for keeping her rapidly 
approaching birthday with all splendour. While he 
was bringing up the new road from below, behind the 
village, he made the men, under pretence that he 
wanted stones, begin working at the top as well, and 
work down, to meet the others : and he bad calculated 
his arrangements so that the two should exactly meet 
on the eve of the day. The excavations for the new 
house were already done : the iwk was blown away 
with gunpowder ; and a fair foundation-stone had been 
hewn, with a hollow chamber, and a flat slab adjusted 
to cover it. 

This outward activity, these little mysterious pur- 
poses of friendship, prompted by feelings they were 
obliged to repress more or less, rather prevented the 
little party when together from being as lively aa 
usual Edward, who felt that there was a sort of void, 



CHAPTER IX. 

The birthday had come, and everything was ready. 
The wall was all complete which protected the raised 
village road against the water, and so was the walk : 
passing the church, for a short time it followed the 
path which had been laid out ^y Charlotte, and then, 
winding upwards among the ro^ks, inclined first under 
the summer-house to the right, and then, after a wide 
sweep, passed back above it to the right again, and so 
by degrees out on to the summit. 

A large party had assembled for the occasion. They 
went first to church, where they found the whole con- 
gregation collected together in their holiday dresses. 
After service, they filed out in order : first the boys, 
then the young men, then the old ; after them came 
the party from the castle, with their visitors and 
retinue; and the village maidens, young girls, and 
women brought up the rear. 

At the turn of the walk, a raised stone seat had 
been contrived, where the captain made Charlotte and 
the visitors stop and rest. From here they could look 
over the whole distance from the beginning to the end, 
— the troops of men who had gone up before them, 
the file of women following, and now drawing up to 
where they were. It was lovely weather, and the 
whole effect was singularly beautiful. Charlotte was 
taken by surprise : she was touched, and she pressed 
the captain's hand warmly. 

They followed the crowd, who had slowly ascended, 
and were now forming a circle round the spot where 

209 



210 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



the future house was to stand. The lord of the castle, 
his family, and the principal strangers were now in- 
vite*! to descend into the vault, where the foundation* 
stone, supported on one side, lay ready to be let down. 
A well-dressed mason, a trowel in one hand and a 
hammer in the other, came forward, and, with much 
grace, spoke an address in verse, of which in prose we 
can give but an imperfect rendering. 

" Three things," he began, ■ are to be looked to in a 
building : that it stand on the right spot, that it be 
securely founded, that it be successfully executed. The 
first is the business of the master of the house, — his» 
and his only. As in the city the prince and the coun- 
cil alone determine where a building shall he: so in 
the country it is the right of the lord of the soil that 
he shall say, ' Here my dwelling shall stand, — here, 
aod nowhere else.' " 

Edward and Ottilie were standing opposite one an- 
other as these words were spoken, but they did not 
venture to look up and exchange glances, 

" To the third, the execution, there is neither art nor 
handicraft which must not in some way contribute. But 
the second, the founding, is the province of the mason ; 
and, boldly to speak it out, it is the head and front of all 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 21 1 

the uprightness and equal height of all the walls, — 
we might now without more ado let down : it would 
rest in its place with its own weight. But even here 
there shall not fail of lime and means to bind it. For 
as human beings, who may be well inclined to each 
other by nature, yet hold more firmly together when 
the law cements them: so are stones also, whose 
forms may already fit together, united far better 
by these binding forces. It is not seemly to be idle 
amidst the busy, and here you will not refuse to be 
our fellow labourer." With these words he reached 
the trowel to Charlotte, who threw mortar with it 
under the stone; several of the others were then 
desired to do the same, and then it was at once let 
fall Upon which the hammer was placed next in 
Charlotte's, and then in the others', hands, to strike 
three times with it, and conclude, in this expression, 
the union of the stone with the soil. 

"The work of the mason," the speaker continued, 
" now under the free sky as we are, if it be not done in 
concealment, yet must pass into concealment ; the soil 
will be laid smoothly in, and thrown over this stone ; 
and, with the walls which we rear into the daylight, 
we in the end are seldom remembered. The works of 
the stone-cutter and the carver remain under the eyes : 
but for us it is not to complain when the plasterer 
blots out the last trace of our hands, and appropriates 
our work to himself ; when he overlays, smooths, and 
colours it. 

"Not from regard for the opinion of others, but 
from respect for himself, the mason will be faithful in 
his calling. There is no one who has more need to 
feel in himself the consciousness of what he is. When 
the house has been erected, when the soil is levelled, 
and the surface paved, and the outside all overwrought 
with ornament, he can even see in yet through all 
disguises, and still recognise those exact and careful 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



adjustments to which the whole is indebted for its 
existence ami support 

" But as the man who commits some evil deed has 

to fear, that, notwithstanding all precautions, it will 
one day come to light ; so too ' must he expect who has 
done some good thing in secret, that it also, in spite of 
him, will appear in the day ; and therefore we make 
this foundation-stone at the same time a memorial- 
stone. Here, in these various cavities which have 
been hewn into it, many things are now to be buried, 
to bear witness to distant posterity. These metal cases 
hermetically sealed contain documents in writing ; mat- 
ters of various note are engraved on these plates ; in 
these beautiful glass bottles we bury the best old wine, 
with the date of its vintage. We have coins, too, of 
many kinds, from the mint of the current year. All 
this we have received through the liberality of him 
for whom we build. There is still some space left, if 
any gnmt or spectator desire to offer something for 
posterity.' 1 

After a slight pause the speaker looked round : hut, 
as is commonly the case on such occasions, no one was 
prepared ; they were all taken by surprise. At last, a 
merry-lookiug young officer set the example, and said. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 213 

gentle hand laid it down on the other jewels. Edward 
rather disarranged the proceedings by at once, in some 
haste, having the cover let fall, and fastened down. 

The young journeyman mason who had been most 
active through all tins, again took his place as orator, 
and went on, " We lay down this stone for ever, for the 
establishing the present and the future possessors of 
this house. But in that we bury this treasure together 
with it, we do it in the remembrance — in this most 
enduring of works — of the perishableness of all human 
things. We remember that a time may come when 
this lid so firmly sealed shall again be lifted ; and that 
can only be when all shall again be destroyed, which 
as yet we have not brought into being. 

" But now — now that at once it may begin to be^ 
back with our thoughts out of the future, — back into 
the present. At once, after the feast which we have 
this day kept together, let us on with our labour : let 
no one of all those trades which are to work on our 
foundation, through us keep unwilling holiday. Let 
the building rise swiftly to its height ; and, from the 
windows which as yet have no existence, may the 
master of the house, his family, and guests look forth 
with a glad heart over his broad lands. To him and 
to all here present herewith be health and happiness." 

With these word he drained a richly cut tumbler at 
a draught, and flung it into the air, thereby to signify the 
excess of pleasure by destroying the vessel which had 
served for such a solemn occasion. This time, how- 
ever, it fell out otherwise. The glass did not fall back 
to the earth, and indeed without a miracle. 

In order to get forward with the buildings, they had 
already excavated the whole ground at the opposite 
corner ; indeed, they had begun to raise the wall, and, 
for this purpose, reared a scaffold as high as was abso- 
lutely necessary. On the occasion of the festival, 
boards had been laid along the top of this ; and a num- 



214 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



her of spectators were allowed to stand there It had 
been meant principally for the advantage of the work- 
men themselves. The glass had flown up there, and 
had been caught by one of them, who took it as a sign 
of good luck for himself. He waved it round without 
letting it go from his band ; and the letters E and O 
were to be seen very richly cut upon it, running one 
into the other. It was one of the glasses which had 
been made to order for Edward when he was a boy. 

The scaffoldings were again deserted ; and the most 
active among the party climbed up to look round, and 
could not say enough in praise of the beauty of the 
prospect on all sides. How many new discoveries a 
person makes when, on some high point, he ascends a 
somewhat higher eminence. Inland many fresh vil- 
lages came in sight. The line of the river could he 
traced like a thread of silver ; indeed, one of the party 
thought that he distinguished the spires of the capital. 
On the other side, behind the wooded hill, the blue 
peaks of the far-off mountains were seen rising; and 
the country immediately about them was spread out 
like a map. 

" If the three ponds " cried some one, " were but 
thrown together to make a single sheet of water, there 
would be everything here which is noblest and most 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 215 

replied Edward. " Yes, my dear child, I planted them 
when you were still lying in your cradle." 

The party now betook themselves back to the castle. 
When dinner was over, they were invited to walk 
through the village to take a glance at what had been 
done there as well. At a hint from the captain, the 
inhabitants had collected in front of the houses. They 
were not standing in rows, but formed in natural 
family groups, partly occupied at their evening work, 
partly enjoying themselves on the new benches. They 
had determined, as an agreeable duty which they im- 
posed upon themselves, to have everything in its pres- 
ent order and cleanliness, at least every Sunday and 
holiday. 

A small party, held together by such feelings as had 
grown up among our friends, is always unpleasantly 
interrupted by a large concourse of people. All four 
were delighted to find themselves again alone in the 
large drawing-room ; but this sense of home was a little 
disturbed by a letter which was brought to Edward, 
giving notice of fresh guests who were to arrive the 
following day. 

" It is as we supposed," Edward cried to Charlotte. 
" The count will not stay away ; he is coming to- 
morrow." 

"Then, the baroness, too, is not far off," answered 
Charlotte. 

" Doubtless not," said Edward. " She is coming, too, 
to-morrow, from another place. They only beg to be 
allowed to stay for a night : the next day they will go 
on together." 

"We must prepare for them in time, Ottilie," said 
Charlotte. 

"What arrangement shall I desire to be made?" 
Ottilie asked. 

Charlotte gave a general direction, and Ottilie left 
the room. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



The captain inquired in what relation these two 
persons stood toward one another, and with which he 
was only very generally acquainted. They had some 
time before, both being already married, fallen vio- 
lently in love with one another: a double marriage 
was not to be interfered with without attracting atten- 
tion, A divorce was proposed. On the baroness's 
side it could be effected, on that of the count it could 
not. They were obliged seemingly to separate, but their 
position toward one another remained unchanged ; 
and though in winter at the Residence they were un- 
able to be together, they indemnified themselves in sum* 
mer, while making tours and staying at watering-places. 

They were both slightly older than Edward and 
Charlotte, and had been intimate with them from early 
times at court. The connection had never been abso- 
lutely broken off, although it was impossible to approve 
of their proceedings. On the present occasion, their 
coming was most unwelcome to Charlotte ; and, if she 
had looked closely into her reasons for feeling it so, 
she would have found it was on account of Ottilie. 
The poor, innocent girl should not have been brought 
so early in contact with such an example* 

" It would have been just as well if they had not 
come till a couple of days later" Edward was saying, 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 217 

The next morning, as they were looking out from 
their highest windows for their visitors, whom they 
intended to go some way and meet, Edward said, 
" Who is that yonder, slowly riding along the road ? " 

The captain described accurately the figure of the 
horseman. 

"Then, it is he," said Edward: "the particulars, 
which you can see better than I, agree very well with 
the general figure, which I can see too. It is Mittler ; 
but what is he doing, coming riding at such a pace as 
that?" 

The figure came nearer, and Mittler it veritably was. 
They received him with warm greetings, as he came 
slowly up the steps. 

" Why did you not come yesterday ? " Edward cried, 
as he approached. 

* I do not like your grand festivities," answered he ; 
" but I have come to-day to keep my friend's birthday 
with you quietly." 

"How are you able to find time enough?" asked 
Edward, with a laugh. 

" My visit, if you can value it, you owe to an obser- 
vation I made yesterday. I was spending a right happy 
afternoon in a house where I had established peace, 
and then I heard that a birthday was being kept here. 
' Now, this is what I call selfish, after all/ said I to 
myself : ' you will only enjoy yourself with those whose 
broken peace you have mended. Why cannot you, for 
once, go and be happy with friends who keep the peace 
for themselves ? ' No sooner said than done. Here I 
am, as I determined with myself that I would be." 

" Yesterday you would have met a large party here : 
to-day you will find but a small one," said Charlotte. 
" You will meet the count and the baroness, with whom 
you have had enough to do already, I believe." 

Out of the middle of the party, who had all four 
come down to welcome him, the strange man dashed 





I^^^^—H^^^^^l 


21S ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

Id the keenest disgust, seizing, at the same time, his 
hat and whip, " Some unlucky star is always over 
roe," he cried, " directly 1 try to rest and enjoy myself. 
What business have I going out of my proper charac- 
ter ? I ought never to have come and now I am ex- 
pelled. Under one roof with those two I will not 
remain, and you take care of yourselves. They bring 
nothing hut mischief. Their nature is like leaven, and 
propagates its own contagion." 

They tried to pacify him, but it was in vain. *' Who- 
ever strikes at marriage," he cried, — " whoever, either 
by word or deed, undermines this, the foundation of 
all moral society, that man has to settle with me ; and, 
if I cannot become his master, I take care to settle my- 
self out of his way. Marriage is the beginning and end 
of all culture. It makes the savage mild, and the 
most cultivated has no better opportunity for display- 
ing his gentleness. Indissoluble it must be, because 
it brings so much happiness that what smaU, excep- 
tional unhappiness it may bring counts for nothing in 
the balance. And what do men mean by talking of 
unhappiness ? All men have, at times, fits of impa- 
tience, when they fancy themselves unhappy. Let 
them wait till the moment is gone by, and then they 
will bless their good fortune that what has stood so 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



219 



Such were his words, uttered with great vivacity; 
and he would very likely have gone on speaking, had 
not the sound of the postilions' horns announced the 
arrival of the visitors, who, as if by a preconcerted 
arrangement, at the same moment drove into the 
castle courtyard from opposite sides. Mittler slipped 
away as their host hastened to receive them, and, de- 
siring that his horse might be brought out immediately, 
rode angrily ofL 



CHAPTER X 



The visitors were welcomed, and brought in. They 
were delighted to find themselves again in the same 
house and in the same rooms where in early times 
they had passed many happy days, but which they 
had not seen for a long time. Their friends, too, were 
very glad to see them. Both the count and the baron- 
ess had those tall, fine figures, which please in middle 
life almost better than in youth. For, although their 
first bloom had somewhat faded, there was an air in 
their appearance which was always irresistibly attract- 
ive. Their manners, too, were thoroughly charming. 
Their free way of taking hold of life, and dealing with 
it, their mirth fulness, apparent ease, and freedom from 
embarrassment, communicated itself at once to the 
rest ; and a lighter atmosphere hung about the whole 
party, without their having observed it stealing on 
them. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 221 

tell each other, and in setting to work, at the same 
time, to examine the new fashions, the spring dresses, 
bonnets, and such like; while the gentlemen busied 
themselves looking at the new travelling-chariots, trot- 
ting out the horses, and beginning at once to bargain 
and exchange. 

They did not meet again till dinner : in the mean- 
time they had changed their dress. And here, too, the 
newly arrived pair showed to all advantage. Every- 
thing they wore was new, and of a style such as their 
friends at the castle had never seen; and yet, being 
accustomed to it themselves, it appeared perfectly 
natural and graceful 

The conversation was brilliant and varied; as, in- 
deed, in the presence of such persons, everything and 
nothing seems to be of interest. They spoke in French, 
that the attendants might not understand what they 
said, and swept, in happiest humour, over all that was 
passing in the great or the middle world. On one par- 
ticular subject they remained, however, longer than was 
desirable. It was occasioned by Charlotte asking after 
one of her early friends, of whom she had to learn, 
with some distress, that she was on the point of being 
separated from her husband. 

" It is a melancholy thing," Charlotte said, " when 
we fancy our absent friends are finally settled, when 
we believe persons very dear to us to be provided for 
for life, suddenly to hear that their fortunes are cast 
loose once more ; that they have to strike into a fresh 
path of life, and very likely a most insecure one." 

" Indeed, my dear friend," the count answered, " it is 
our own fault if we allow ourselves to be surprised at 
such things. We please ourselves with imagining mat- 
ters of this earth, and particularly matrimonial connec- 
tions, as very enduring : and, as concerns this last point, 
the plays which we see over and over again help to 
mislead us ; being, as they are, so untrue to the course 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 223 

the term had run out, they first observed that they 
had unknowingly prolonged it." 

Charming and pleasant as all this sounded, and deep 
(Charlotte felt it to her soul) as was the moral signifi- 
cance which lay below it, expressions of this kind, on 
Ottilie's account, were most distasteful to her. She 
knew very well that nothing was more dangerous than 
the licentious conversation which treats culpable or 
semi-culpable actions as if they were common, ordi- 
nary, and even laudable ; and of such undesirable kind 
assuredly was whatever touched on the sacredness of 
marriage. She therefore endeavoured, in her skilful 
way, to give the conversation another turn ; and, when 
she found that she could not, it vexed her that Ottilie 
had managed everything so well that there was no 
occasion for her to leave the table. In her quiet, ob- 
servant way, a nod or a look was enough for her to 
signify to the head servant whatever was to be done ; 
and everything went off perfectly, although there were 
a couple of strange men in livery in the way, who 
were rather a trouble than a convenience. And so the 
count, without perceiving Charlotte's hints, went on 
giving his opinions on the same subject. It was not 
his wont to be tedious in conversation ; but this was 
a thing which weighed so heavily on his heart, and 
the difficulties he found in getting separated from his 
wife were so great, that it had made him bitter against 
everything concerning the marriage bond, — that very 
bond which, nevertheless, he so anxiously desired for 
himself and the baroness. 

" The same friend," he went on, " has another law to 
propose. A marriage is to be held indissoluble, only 
either when both parties, or at least one, enter into it 
for the third time. Such persons must be supposed to 
acknowledge beyond a doubt that they find marriage 
indispensable for themselves ; they have had opportu- 
nities of thoroughly knowing themselves ; of knowing 



224 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



how they conducted themselves in their earlier unions ; 
whether they have any peculiarities of temper, which 
are a more frequent cause of separation than bad dis- 
positions. People would then observe one another 
more closely j they would pay as much attention to 
the married as to the unmarried, no one being able 
to tell how things may turn out." 

* That would add no little to the interest of society," 
said Edward, " As things are now, when a man ia 
married, nobody cares any more, either for his virtues 
or for his vicea" 

" Under this arrangement," the baroness rejoined, 
smiling, H our dear hosts have passed successfully two 
stages, and niay make themselves ready for their third." 

u Things have gone happily with them " said the 
count. "In their case, death has done with a good 
grace what in other cases the consistorial courts do 
with a very bad one/* 

' f Let the dead rest," said Charlotte, with a half- 
serious look. 

" Why so/* replied the count, " when we can remem- 
ber them with honour ? They were generous enough 
to content themselves with less than their number of 
years for the sake of the larger good which they could 
leave behind thera." 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 225 

as we can get it; and the sooner we can accustom 
ourselves to this the better." 

" Certainly," the count answered, " you two have had 
the enjoyment of very happy times. When I recall 
the years when you and Edward were the loveliest 
couple at the court, I see nothing now to be compared 
with those brilliant times and such magnificent figures. 
When you two used to dance together, all eyes were 
turned upon you, fastened upon you; while you saw 
nothing but each other." 

" So much has changed since those days," said Char- 
lotte, " that we can listen to such pretty things about 
ourselves without our modesty being shocked at them." 

"I often privately found fault with Edward," said 
the count, " for not being more firm. Those singular 
parents of his would certainly have given way at last, 
and ten fair years is no trifle to gain." 

" I must take Edward's part," struck in the baroness. 
"Charlotte was not altogether without fault, — not 
altogether free from what we must call prudential 
considerations: and although she had a real, hearty 
love for Edward, and did in her secret soul intend to 
marry him, I can bear witness how sorely she often 
tried him ; and it was through this that he was at last 
unluckily prevailed upon to leave her and go abroad, 
and try to forget her." 

Edward nodded to the baroness, and seemed grateful 
for her advocacy. 

"And then I must add this," she continued, "in 
excuse for Charlotte. The man who was at that time 
wooing her had for a long time given proofs of his 
constant attachment to her, and, when one came to 
know him well, was a far more lovable person than the 
rest of you may like to acknowledge." 

" Dear friend," the count replied, a little pointedly, 
" confess, now, that he was not altogether indifferent to 
yourself, and that Charlotte had more to fear from you 



226 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



than from any other rival I find it one of the highest 
traits in women, that they preserve so long their regard 
for a man, and that absence of bo duration will serve 
to d isturb or remove it." 

" This tine feature men possess, perhaps, even more/' 
answered the baroness. " At any rate, I have observed 
with you, my dear count, that no one has more influ- 
ence over you than a lady to whom yon were once 
attached. I have seen yon take more trouble to do 
things when a certain person has asked yon, than the 
friend of this moment would have obtained of you, if 
she had tried " 

" Such a charge as that one must bear the best way 
one can," replied the count, ** But, as to what concerns 
Charlotte's first husband, 1 could not endure him ; be- 
cause he parted so sweet a pair from one another, — a 
really predestined pair, who, once brought together, 
have no reason to fear the five years, or be thinking of 
a second ur third marriage," 

"We must try" Charlotte said, "to make up for 
what we then allowed to slip from us." 

"Ay, and you must keep to that" said the count: 
" your first marriages," he continued, with some vehe- 
mence, " were exactly marriages of the true detestable 

generally, even the 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 227 

the captain were able to take a part in it. Even 
Ottilie had to give her opinion, and the dessert wa& 
enjoyed in the happiest humour. It was particularly 
beautiful, being composed almost entirely of the rich 
summer fruits in elegant baskets, with epergnes of 
lovely summer flowers arranged in exquisite taste. 

The new laying-out of the park came to be spoken 
of, and immediately after dinner they went to look at 
what was going on. Ottilie withdrew, under pretence 
of having household matters to look to ; in reality, it 
was to set to work again at the transcribing. The 
count fell into conversation with the captain, and Char- 
lotte afterward joined them. When they were at the 
summit, the captain good-naturedly ran back to fetch 
the plan; and, in his absence, the count said to 
Charlotte : 

" He is an exceedingly pleasing person. He is very 
well informed, and his knowledge is always ready. 
His practical power, too, seems methodical and vigor- 
ous. What he is doing here would be of great impor- 
tance in some higher sphere." 

Charlotte listened to the captain's praises with an 
inward delight. She collected herself, however, and 
composedly and clearly confirmed what the count had 
said. But she was not a little startled when he 
continued : 

"This acquaintance falls most opportunely for me. 
I know of a situation for which he is perfectly suited ; 
and I shall be doing the greatest favour to a friend of 
mine, a man of high rank, by recommending to 
him a person who is so exactly everything which he 
desires." 

Charlotte felt as if a stroke of thunder had fallen on 
her. The count did not observe it : women, being accus- 
tomed at all times to hold themselves in restraint, are 
always able, even in the most extraordinary cases to, 
maintain an apparent composure ; but she heard not a 



2 28 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



word more of what the count said, though he went on 

speaking. 

" When I have made up my mind upon a thing," he 
added, ■ I am quick about it. I have put my letter 
together already in my head, and I shall write it 
immediately. You caa find me some messenger, who 
can ride off with it this evening/' 

Charlotte was suffering agonies. Startled with the 
proposal, and shocked at herself, she was unable to 
utter a word. Happily the count continued talking of 
his plans for the captain, the desirableness of which 
was only too apparent to Charlotte. 

It was time that the captain returned. He came up, 
and unrolled his design before the count. But with 
what changed eyes Charlotte now looked at the friend 
whom she was to lose ! In her necessity she bowed, 
and turned away, and hurried down to the summer- 
house. Before she had gone half-way, the tears were 
streaming from her eyes \ and she flung herself into 
the narrow room in the little hermitage, and gave her- 
sulf up to an agony, a passion, a despair, of the possi- 
bility of which, hut a few moments before, she had not 
had the slightest conception. 

Edward had gone with the baroness in the other 
direction, toward the ponds. This ready-witted lady. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 229 

to her world-experienced spirit Added to this, she 
had heen already, in the course of the day, talking 
to Charlotte about Ottilie: she had disapproved of 
her remaining in the country, particularly being a girl 
of so retiring a character; and she had proposed to 
take Ottilie with her to the residence of a friend, who 
was just then bestowing great expense on the educa- 
tion of an only daughter, and who was only looking 
about to find some well-disposed companion for her, 
to put her in the place of a second child, and let 
her share in every advantage. Charlotte had taken 
time to consider. But now this glimpse of the baron- 
ess into Edward's heart changed what had been but 
a suggestion at once into a settled determination ; and 
the more rapidly she made up her mind about it, the 
more she outwardly seemed to flatter Edward's wishes. 
Never was there any one more self-possessed than this 
lady ; and to have mastered ourselves in extraordinary 
cases disposes us to treat even a common case with 
dissimulation: it makes us inclined, as we have had 
to do so much violence to ourselves, to extend our 
control over others, and hold ourselves in a degree 
compensated in what we outwardly gain for what 
we inwardly have been obliged to sacrifice. To this 
feeling there is often joined a kind of secret, spiteful 
pleasure in the blind, unconscious ignorance with 
which the victim walks on into the snare. It is not 
immediate success we enjoy, but the thought of the 
surprise and exposure which is to follow. And thus 
was the baroness malicious enough to invite Edward 
to come with Charlotte, and pay her a visit at the 
grape-gathering, and, to his question whether they 
might bring Ottilie with them, to frame an answer 
which, if he pleased, he might interpret to his wishes. 

Edward had already begun to pour out his delight 
at the beautiful scenery, the broad river, the hills, the 
rocks, the vineyard, the old castles, the water-parties, 



230 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



and the jubilee at the grape-gathering, the wine-press- 
ing, etc., — Lti all of which, in the innocence of his 
heart, he was only exuberating in the anticipation of 
the impression which these scenes were to make on the 
fresh spirits of Qttilie, At this moment they saw her 
approach : and the baroness said quickly to Edward 
that he had better say nothing to her of this intended 
autumn expedition, things which we set our hearts 
upon so long before so often failing to come to pass. 
Edward gave his promise : hut he obliged his compan- 
ion to move more quickly to meet her; and at last, 
w r heu they came very close, he ran on several steps 
in advance. A heartfelt happiness was expressed in 
his whole lieing. He kissed her hand as he pressed 
into it a nosegay of wild-flowers, which he had 
gathered on his way. 

The baroness felt bitter to her heart at the sight of 
it At the same time that she was able to disapprove 
of what was really objectionable in this affection, she 
could not l>ear to see what was sweet and beautiful 
in it thrown away on such a poor, paltry girL 

When they had collected again at the supper-table, 
an entirely different temper was spread over the party. 
The count, who had in the meantime written his letter 

occupied himse 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



231 



vations at leisure. She perceived Charlotte's uneasi- 
ness, and, occupied as she was with Edward's passion 
for Ottilie, easily satisfied herself that her abstraction 
and distress were owing to her husband's behaviour; 
and she set herself to consider in what way she could 
best compass her ends. 

Supper was over, and the party remained divided. 
The count, whose object was to probe the captain to 
the bottom, had to try many turns before he could 
arrive at what he wished with so quiet, so little vain, 
but so exceedingly laconic, a person. They walked up 
and down together on one side of the saloon; while 
Edward, excited with wine and hope, was laughing 
with Ottilie at a window; and Charlotte and the 
baroness were walking backward and forward, with- 
out speaking, on the other side. Their being so silent, 
and their standing about in this uneasy, listless way, 
had its effect at last in breaking up the rest of the 
party. The ladies withdrew to their rooms, the gentle- 
men to the other wing of the castle ; and so this day 
appeared to be concluded. 



CHAPTER XL 



Edwa^hd went with the count to his room. They 
continued talking, and he was easily prevailed upon 
to stay a little longer time there. The count lost him- 
self in old times, spoke eagerly of Charlotte's beauty, 
which, as a critic, he dwelt upon with much warmth, 

" A pretty foot is a great gift of nature," he said. 
11 It is a grace which never perishes. I observed it 
to-day, as she was walking, I should almost have 
liked to have kissed her shoe, and repeat that some- 
what barbarous but significant practice of the Sarma- 
tians, who know no better way of showing reverence 
for any one they love or respect, than by using his 
shoe to drink his health out of." 

The point of the foot did not remain the only sub- 
ject of praise between two old acquaintances : they 
went from the person back upon old stories and adven- 
tures, and came on the hinderances people at that time 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 233 

way which led to the court ladies' quarter," said 
Edward, "and so managed to effect an interview for 
me with my beloved." 

"And she," replied the count, "thinking more of 
propriety than of my enjoyment, had kept a fright- 
ful old duenna with her. So that, while you two, 
between looks and words, got on extremely well 
together, my lot, in the meanwhile, was far from 
pleasant." 

"Only yesterday," answered Edward, "when you 
sent word you were coming, I was recalling the story 
to my wife, and describing our adventure on returning. 
We missed the road, and got into the entrance-hall 
from the garden. Knowing our way from thence so 
well as we did, we supposed we could get along easily 
enough. But you remember our surprise on opening 
the door. The floor was covered over with mattresses, 
on which the giants lay in rows stretched out and 
sleeping. The single sentinel at his post looked won- 
deringly at us; but we, in the cool way young men 
do things, strode quietly on over the outstretched 
boots, without disturbing a single one of the snoring 
children of Anak." 

"I had the strongest inclination to stumble," the 
count said, "that there might be an alarm given. 
What a resurrection we should have witnessed." 

At this moment the castle clock struck twelve. 

"It is deep midnight," the count added, laughing, 
" and just the proper time : I must ask you, my dear 
baron, to show me a kindness. Do you guide me 
to-night, as I guided you then. I promised the 
baroness that I would see her before going to bed. 
We have had no opportunity of any private talk 
together the whole day. We have not seen each 
other for a long time, and it is only natural that 
we should wish for a confidential hour. If you will 
show me the way there, I will manage to get back 



*34 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



again ; and, in any case, there will be no boots for 
me to stumble over." 

li I shall be very glad to show you such a piece of 
hospitality," answered Edward, ■ only the three ladies 
are together in the same wing. Who knows whether 
we shall not find them still with one another, or 
make some other mistake, which may have a strange 
appearance ? " 

"Do not be afraid," said the count : " the baroness 
expects me. She is sure by this time to be in her 
own room, and alone." 

" Well, then, the thing is easy enough/' Edward 
answered, He took a candle, and lighted the count 
down a private staircase leading into a long gallery. 
At the end of this, he opened a small door* They 
mounted a winding flight of stairs, which brought 
them out upon a narrow landing-place ; and then, 
putting the candle in the count's hand, he pointed 
to a tapestried door on the right, which opened readily 
at the first trial, and admitted the count, leaving 
Edward outside in the dark. 

Another door on the left led into Charlotte's sleep- 
ing-room. He heard her voice, and listened. She 
was speaking to her maid. " Is Ottilie in bed ? " 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 235 

which she occupied. He now found himself im- 
mediately at his wife's door. A singular change of 
feeling came over him. He tried the handle, but the 
door was bolted. He knocked gently. Charlotte did 
not hear him. She was walking rapidly up and down 
in the large dressing-room adjoining. She was re- 
peating over and over what, since the count's unex- 
pected proposal, she had often enough had to say to 
herself. The captain seemed to stand before her. At 
home and everywhere, he had become her all in alL 
And now he was to go, and it was all to be desolate 
again. She repeated whatever wise things one can 
say to one's self; she even anticipated, as people so 
often do, the wretched comfort, that time would come 
at last to her relief; and then she cursed the time 
which would have to pass before it could lighten her 
sufferings — she cursed the dead, cold time when they 
would be lightened. At last she burst into tears, 
which were the more welcome as she rarely wept. 
She flung herself on the sofa, and gave herself up 
unreservedly to her sufferings. Edward, meanwhile, 
could not take himself from the door. He knocked 
again, and a third time somewhat louder; so that 
Charlotte, in the stillness of the night, distinctly heard 
it, and started up in fright. Her first thought was, 
it can only be, it must be, the captain ; her second, 
that it was impossible. She thought she must have 
been deceived. But surely she had heard it, and she 
wished and she feared to have heard it. She went into 
her sleeping-room, and walked lightly up to the bolted 
tapestry-door. She blamed herself for her fears. " Possi- 
bly it may be the baroness wanting something," she said 
to herself ; and she called out quietly and calmly, " Is 
anybody there ? " A light voice answered, " It is L" 
" Who ? " returned Charlotte, not being able to make 
out the voice. She thought she saw the captain's 
figure standing at the door. In a slightly louder tone, 




2 3 6 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



she heard the word " Edward." She drew back the 
bolt, and her husband stood before her. He greeted 
her with some light jest She was unable to reply in 
the same tone. He complicated the mysterious visit 
by hie mysterious explanation of it. 

"Well, then," he said at last, **I will confess* the 
real reason why I am come is, that I have made a vow 
to kiss your shoe this evening. 1 * 

41 It is long since you thought of such a thing as 
that," said Charlotte. 

u Ho much the worse * he answered, " and so much 
the better." 

She sat down in an armchair to prevent him from 
seeing the scantiness of her dress. He flung himself 
down before her, and she could not prevent him from 
giving her shoe a kiss. And, when the shoe came off 
iu his band, be caught her foot, and pressed it tenderly 
against his breast. 

Charlotte was one of those women who, being of a 
naturally calm temperament, continue in marriage, 
without any purpose or any effort, the air and charac- 
ter of lovers. She was never expressive toward her 
husband ; generally, indeed, she rather shrank from 
any warm demonstration on his part. It was not that 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



237 



Edward was so agreeable, so gentle, so pressing : he 
begged to be allowed to stay with her. He did not 
demand it ; but half in fun, half in earnest, he tried to 
persuade her : he never thought of his rights. At last, 
as if in mischief, he blew out the candle. 

In the dim lamplight, the inward affection, the 
imagination, maintained their rights over the real: it 
was Ottilie that was resting in Edward's arms; and 
the captain, now faintly, now clearly, hovered before 
Charlotte's souL And so, strangely intermingled, the 
absent and the present flowed in a sweet enchantment 
one into the other. 

And yet the present would not let itself be robbed 
of its own unlovely right. They spent a part of the 
night talking and laughing at all sorts of things, the 
more freely, as the heart had no part in it. But when 
Edward awoke in the morning, on the bosom of his 
wife, the day seemed to stare in with a sad, awful 
look, and the sun to be shining in upon a crime. He 
stole lightly from her side; and she found herself, 
with strange enough feelings, when she awoke, alone. 



CHATTER XIL 



When the party assembled again at breakfast, an 
attentive observer might have read ia the behaviour 
of its various members the different things which were 
passing in their inner thoughts and feelings. The 
count and the baroness met with the air of happiness 
which a pair of lovers feel, who, after having been 
forced to endure a long separation, have mutually 
assured each other of their unaltered affection. On 
the other hand, Charlotte and Edward equally came 
into the presence of the captain and Ottilie with a 
sense of shame and remorse- For such is the nature 
of love that it believes in no rights except its own, and 
all other rights vanish away before iL Ottilie was in 
ehiloUike spirits. For her, she was almost what might 
be called open. The captain appeared serious. His 
conversation with the count, which had roused in him 
feelings that for some time past had been at rest and 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 239 

It was now evening. Edward, Charlotte, and the 
captain had accompanied the strangers some little way 
on foot, before the latter got into their carriage ; and, 
previous to returning home, they agreed to take a walk 
along the water-side. 

A boat had come, which Edward had had fetched 
from a distance at no little expense ; and they decided 
that they would try whether it was easy to manage. 
It was made fast on the bank of the middle pond, not 
far from some old ash-trees, on which they calculated 
to make an effect in their future improvements. There 
was to be a landing-place made there, and under the 
trees a seat was to be raised and architecturally 
adorned : it was to be the spot for which people were 
to make when they went across the water. 

"And where had we better have the landing-place 
on the other side ? " said Edward. " I should think, 
under my plane-trees." 

" They stand a little too far to the right," said the 
captain. " You are nearer the castle if you land farther 
down. However, we must think about it" 

The captain was already standing in the stern of the 
boat, and had taken up an oar. Charlotte got in, and 
Edward with her, — he took the other oar ; but, as he 
was on the point of pushing off, he thought of Ottilie, 
— he recollected that joining in the sail would detain 
him too long ; who could tell when he would get back ? 
He made up his mind shortly and promptly, sprang 
back to the bank, and, reaching the other oar to the 
captain, hurried home, making excuses to himself as 
he ran. 

Arriving there, he learned that Ottilie had shut her- 
self up, — she was writing. In spite of the agreeable 
feeling that she was doing something for him, it was the 
keenest mortification to him not to be able to see her. 
His impatience increased every moment. He walked 
up and down the large drawing-room : he tried a 



240 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



thousand things, and could not fix his attention upon 
any. He was longing to see her alone, before Char- 
lotte came back with the captain. It was dark by this 
time, arid the candles were lighted* 

At last she came in, beaming with loveliness: the 
sense that she had done something for her Mend had 
lifted all her being above itself. She put down the 
original and her transcript on the table before Edward. 

" Shall we collate them ? " she said, with a smile. 

Edward did not know what to answer. He looked 
at her — he looked at the transcript. The first few 
sheets were written with the greatest carefulness in a 
delicate woman's hand ; then the strokes appeared to 
alter, to bucome more Light and free; but who can 
describe bis surprise as he ran his eyes over the con- 
cluding page ? " For Heaven's sake ! he cried, " what 
is this ? this is my hand ! " He looked at Ottilie, and 
again at the paper : the conclusion, especially , was ex- 
actly as if he had written it himself. Ottilie said 
nothing, but she looked at him with her eyes full of 
the wannest delight. Edward stretched out his arms. 
"You love me I " he cried ; (l Ottilie, you love me 1 " 
They fell on each other's breast : which had been the 
first to catch the other it would have been impossible 
to distinguish. 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 241 

love and ecstasy, spoke well of every one, — always 
sparing, often approving. Charlotte, who was not alto- 
gether of his opinion, remarked this temper in him, 
and jested with him about it, — he, who had always 
the sharpest thing to say on departed visitors, was this 
evening so gentle and tolerant. 

With fervour and heartfelt conviction, Edward cried, 
" One has only to love a single creature with all one's 
heart, and the whole world at once looks lovely ! " 

Ottilie dropped her eyes on the ground, and Char- 
lotte looked straight before her. 

The captain took up the word, and said, " It is the 
same with deep feelings of respect and reverence : we 
first learn to recognise what there is that is to be 
valued in the world, when we find occasion to enter- 
tain such sentiments toward a particular object." 

Charlotte made an excuse to retire early to her 
room, where she could give herself up to thinking over 
what had passed in the course of the evening between 
herself and the captain. * 

When Edward, jumping on shore, and, pushing off 
the boat, had himself committed his wife and his 
friend to the uncertain element, Charlotte found her- 
self face to face with the man on whose account she 
had been already secretly suffering so bitterly, sitting 
in the twilight before her, and sweeping along the boat 
with the sculls in easy motion. She felt a depth of 
sadness, very rare with her, weighing on her spirits. 
The undulating movement of the boat, the splash of 
the oars, the faint breeze playing over the watery mir- 
ror, the sighing of the reeds, the long flight of the 
birds, the fitful twinkling of the first stars, — there 
was something spectral about it all in the universal 
stillness. She fancied her friend was bearing her away 
to set her on some far-off shore, and leave her there 
alone ; strange emotions were passing through her, and 
she could not give way to them and weep. 



34* 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



The captain was describing to her the manner in 

which, according to his opinion, the improvements 
should be continued. He praised the construction of 
the boat : it was so convenient, he said, because one 
person could so easily manage it with a pair of oars. 
She should herself learn how to do this: there was 
often a delicious feeling in floating along alone upon 
the water, one's own ferryman and steersman. 

The parting which was impending sank on Char- 
lotte's heart as he was speaking. Is he saying this on 
purpose? she thought to herselt Does he know it 
yet ? Does he suspect it ? or is it only accident, and 
is he unconsciously foretelling me my fate ? 

A weary, impatient heaviness took hold of her : she 
begged him to make for land as soon as possible, and 
return with her to the castle. 

It was the first time the captain had sailed on the 
ponds; and although he had, upon the whole, ascer- 
tained their depth, he did not know accurately the 
particular spots. Dusk was coming on : he directed 
his course to a place where he thought it would be 
easy to get on shore, and from which he knew the 
foot-path which led to the castle was not far distant. 
Charlotte, however, repeated her wish to get to land 
which he thought of being at 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 243 

pressed her to himself, and at last laid her down upon 
a grassy bank, not without emotion and confusion . . . 
she was still lying on his neck ... he once more 
locked her in his arms, and pressed a warm kiss upon 
her lips. The next moment he was at her feet: he 
took her hand, and held it to his mouth, and cried : 

" Charlotte, will you forgive me ? " 

The kiss which he had ventured to give, and which 
she had all but returned to him, brought Charlotte to 
herself again: she pressed his hand, but she did not 
attempt to raise him up. She bent down over him, 
and laid her hand upon his shoulder, and said : 

"We cannot now prevent this moment from form- 
ing an epoch in our lives, but it depends on us to bear 
ourselves in a manner which shall be worthy of us. 
You must go away, my dear friend ; and you are going. 
The count has plans for you, to give you better pros- 
pects : I am glad, and I am sorry. I did not mean to 
speak of it till it was certain, but this moment obliges 
me to tell you my secret. . . . Since it does not de- 
pend on ourselves to alter our feelings, I can only for- 
give you, I can only forgive myself, if we have the 
courage to alter our situation." She raised him up, 
took his arm to support herself, and they walked back 
to the castle without speaking. 

But now she was standing in her own room, where 
she could not but feel and know that she was Edward's 
wife. Her strength, and the various discipline in which 
through life she had trained herself, came to her assist- 
ance in the conflict. Accustomed as she had always 
been to look steadily into herself and to control her- 
self, she did not now find it difficult, with an earnest 
effort, to come to the resolution which she desired. 
She could almost smile when she remembered the 
strange visit of the night before. Suddenly she was 
seized with a wonderful instinctive feeling, a thrill of 
fearful delight which changed into holy hope and long- 



244 



KLKCT1VE AFFINITIES 



iug. She koelt earnestly down, and repeated the oath 
which she had taken to Edward before the altar. 

Friendship, affection, renunciation, floated in glad, 
happy images before her. She felt re stored to health 
and to herself. A sweet weariness came over her, and 
she calmly fell asleep. 



CHAPTER XIIL 

Edwabd, on his part, was in a very different temper. 
So little he thought of sleeping, that it did not once 
occur to him even to undress himself. A thousand 
times he kissed the transcript of the document ; but it 
was the beginning of it, in Ottilie's childish, timid 
hand : the end he scarcely dared to kiss, for he thought 
it was his own hand which he saw. Oh, that it were 
another document ! he whispered to himself ; and, as 
it was, he felt it was the sweetest assurance that his 
highest wish would be fulfilled. Thus it remained in 
his hands, thus he continued to press it to his heart, 
although disfigured by a third name subscribed to it. 
The waning moon rose up over the wood. The warmth 
of the night drew Edward out into the free air. He 
wandered this way and that way : he was at once the 
most restless and the happiest of mortals. He strayed 
through the gardens — they seemed too narrow for 
him; he hurried out into the park, and it was too 
wide. He was drawn back toward the castle: he 
stood under Ottilie's window. He threw himself down 
on the steps of the terrace below. " Walls and bolts," 
he said to himself, " may still divide us, but our hearts 
are not divided. If she were here before me, into my 
arms she would fall, and I into hers ; and what can 
one desire but that sweet certainty ! " All was still- 
ness round him ; not a breath was moving ; so still it 
was, that he could hear the unresting creatures under- 
ground at their work, to whom day or night are alike. 
He abandoned himself to his delicious dreams : at last 

2 45 




246 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



he fell asleep, and did not wake till the sun with bia 
royal Imams waa mounting up in the sky and scatter- 
ing the early mists, 

Hl* found that he was the first person awake on his 
domain. The labourers seemed to be staying away 
too long; they came; he thought they were too few, 
and the work set out for the day Loo slight for hiB 
desires. He inquired for more workmen : they were 
promised, and in the course of the day they came. 
But these, too, were not enough for him to carry his 
plans out as rapidly as he wished. To do the work 
gave him no pleasure any longer : it should all be done. 
And for whom ? The paths should be gravelled, that 
Ottilie might walk pleasantly upon them ; seats should 
be made at every spot and corner, that Ottilie might 
rest on them. The new building, too, was hurried 
forward. It should be finished for Ottilie's birthday. 
In all he thought and all he did, there was no more 
moderation. The sense of loving and of being loved 
urged him out into the unlimited. How changed was 
now to him the look of all the rooms, their furniture 
and their decorations ! He did not feel as if he was 
in his own house any more. Gttilie's presence absorbed 
everything. He was utterly lost in her: no other 
thought ever rose before him, no conscience disturbed 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 247 

keep her eye on what was being done. In the present 
hasty style of proceeding, the money which had been 
set apart for the purpose would not go far. 

Much had been begun, and much yet remained to 
be done. How could the captain leave Charlotte in 
such a situation ? They consulted together, and agreed 
that it would be better that they themselves should 
hurry on the works, and for this purpose employ 
money which could be made good again at the period 
fixed for the discharge of the second instalment of 
what was to be paid for the farm. It could be done 
almost without loss. They would have a freer hand. 
Everything would progress simultaneously. There were 
labourers enough at hand; and they could get more 
accomplished at once, and arrive swiftly and surely at 
their aim. Edward gladly gave his consent to a plan 
which so entirely coincided with his own views. 

During this time Charlotte persisted with all her 
heart in what she had determined for herself, and her 
friend stood by her with a like purpose manfully. 
This very circumstance, however, produced a greater 
intimacy between them. They spoke openly to one 
another of Edward's passion, and consulted what had 
better be dona Charlotte kept Ottilie more about 
herself, watching her narrowly; and, the more she 
understood her own heart, the deeper she was able to 
penetrate into the heart of the poor girL She saw no 
help for it, except in sending her away. 

It now appeared a happy thing to her that Luciana 
had gained such high honours at the school ; for her 
great aunt, as soon as she heard of it, desired to take 
her entirely to herself, to keep her with her, and bring 
her out into the world. Ottilie could, therefore, return 
thither. The captain would leave them well provided 
for, and everything would be as it had been a few 
months before ; indeed, in many respects better. Char- 
lotte thought she could soon recover her own place in 



2 4 8 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Edward's affection ; and she settled it all, and laid it 
all out before herself so sensibly, that she only strength- 
ened herself more completely in her delusion — as if 
it were possible for them to return within their old 
limits, — as if a boud which had been violently broken 
could again be joined together as before. 

In the meantime, Edward felt very deeply the 
hindrances which were thrown in his way. He soon 
observed that they were keeping him and Ottilie sep- 
arate ; that they made it difficult for him to speak 
with her alone, or even to approach her, except in the 
presence of others. And, while he was angry about 
this, he was angry at mauy things besides. If he 
caught an opportunity for a few hasty words with 
Ottilie, it was uot only to assure her of his love, 
but to complain of his wife and of the captain. He 
never felt, that, with bis own irrational haste, he was 
on the way to exhaust the cash-box. He bitterly 
complained, that, in the execution of the work, they 
were not keeping to the first agreement: and yet he 
had been himself a consenting party to the second ; 
indeed, it was he who had occasioned it and made 
it necessary. 

Hatred is a partisan, but love is even more so- Ottilie 
also estranged herself from Charlotte and the captain. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 249 

have been silent However, the thing was said. Ed- 
ward's features worked violently. Never had anything 
stung him more. He was touched on his tenderest 
point It was his amusement: he followed it like a 
child. He never made the slightest pretensions : what 
gave him pleasure should be treated with forbearance 
by his friends. He never thought how intolerable it 
is for a third person to have bis ears offended by 
insufficient skilL He was indignant: he was hurt 
a way which he could not forgive. He felt himself 
discharged from all obligations. 

The necessity of being with Ottilie, of seeing her, 
whispering to her, exchanging his confidence with her, 
increased with every day. He determined to write 
to her, and ask her to carry on a secret correspondence 
with him. The strip of paper on which he had, lar 
conically enough, made his request, lay on his writing- 
table, and was swept off by a draught of wind as his 
valet entered to dress his hair. The latter was in the 
habit of picking up bits of paper which might be lying 
about, to try the heat of the iron. This time he got 
hold of the little note, and he twisted it up hastily : it 
was singed. Edward, observing the mistake, snatched 
it out of his hand. After the man was gone, he sat 
down to write it over again. The second time it would 
not run so readily off his pen. It gave him a little 
uneasiness: he hesitated, but he got over it. He 
squeezed the paper into Ottilie's hand the first mo- 
ment he was able to approach her. Ottilie answered 
him immediately. He put the note unread in his 
waistcoat pocket, which, being made short in the fash- 
ion of the time, was shallow, and did not hold it as it 
ought. It worked out, and fell without his observing 
it on the ground. Charlotte saw it, picked it up, and, 
after giving a hasty glance at it, reached it to him. 

" Here is something in your handwriting," she said, 
u which you may be sorry to lose." 



*ib 





^^_ - -_- -^_^^_^_ - ^^^m*. — . J(BM(H^-.- ^. 




*5* ELECTIVE AJ-HJUtlLS 

He was perplexed Is she diagcroUmg ? be thought 
Doe* she know what ia in the doCcv <* t* she deceived 

by the r*^iiibla»e* of the band? He hoped, be be- 
liteved, the latter. He was waned — doubly warned; 
but those rtrange accident*, through which a higher 
intelligence *eems to be speaking to us, bis pasaon wis 
not able to interpret. Bather, as he went farther sad 
farther on T be felt tbe restraint under which his friend 
and his wife seemed to be holding him the more in- 
tolerable. Hi* pleasure in their society was gone. 
His bean was closed against them ; and, though he 
waw obliged to endure their society, he could not sae- 
w**\ in rwJiKf/ivmng op in reanimating within hi* 
heart anything of bis old affection for them. The 
ailent reproaches which he was forced to make to 
himself about it were disagreeable to him. He tried 
to help himself with a kind of humour, which, however, 
being without, love, was also without its usual grace. 

Over all such trials, Charlotte found assistance to 
rise in her own inward feelings. She knew her own 
determination. Her own affection, fair and noble as 
it was, she would utterly renoancer* 

And sorely she longed to go to the assistance of the 
other two. Separation, she knew well, would not alone 
suffice to heal so deep a wound. She resolved that 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



251 



The slight hints which frequently escaped her had no 
effect upon Ottilie; for Ottilie had been assured by 
Edward that Charlotte was devoted to the captain, 
that Charlotte herself wished for a separation, and that 
he was at this moment considering the readiest means 
by which it could be brought about. 

Ottilie, led by the sense of her own innocence along 
the road to the happiness for which she longed, only 
lived for Edward. Strengthened by her love for him 
in all good, more light and happy in her work for his 
sake, and more frank and open toward others, she 
found herself in a heaven upon earth. 

So, all together, each in his or her own fashion, re- 
flecting or unreflecting, they continued the routine of 
their lives. All seemed to go its ordinary way ; as, in 
monstrous cases, when everything is at stake, men will 
still live on, as if it were all nothing. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Ik the meantime a letter came from the ooant to 
the captain, — two indeed, — one which he might pro- 
duce, holding out fair, excellent prospects in the dis- 
tance; the other containing a distinct offer of an 
immediate situation, a place of high importance and 
responsibility at the court, his rank as major, a very 
considerable salary, and other advantages. A number 
of circumstances, however, made it desirable, that, for 
the moment, he should not speak of it; and conse- 
quently he only informed his friends of his remote 
expectations, concealing what was so close at hand. 

He went warmly on, at the same time, with his 
present occupation, and quietly made arrangements 
to secure the works being all continued without inter- 
ruption after his departure. He was now himself 
desirous that as much as possible should be finished 
off at once, and was ready to hasten things forward to 
prepare for Ottilie's birthday. And so, though without 
having to come to any express understanding, the two 
friends worked side by side together. Edward was 
now well. pleased that the cash-box was filled by their 
having taken up money. The whole affair went fro- 
ward at fullest speed. 

The captain had done his best to oppose the plan to 
throwing the three ponds together into a single sheet 
of water. The lower embankment would have to be 
made much stronger, the two intermediate embank- 
ments to be taken away ; and altogether, in more than 

*5* 



K, 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 253 

one sense, it seemed a very questionable proceeding. 
However, both these schemes had been already under- 
taken ; the soil which was removed above, being carried 
at once down to where it was wanted. And here there 
came opportunely on the scene a young architect, an 
old pupil of the captain, who, partly by introducing 
workmen who understood work of this nature, and 
partly by himself, whenever it was possible, contracting 
for the work itself, advanced things not a little ; while, 
at the same time, they could feel more confidence in 
their being securely and lastingly executed. In secret, 
this was a great pleasure to the captain. He could 
now be confident that his absence would not be so 
severely felt. It was one of the points on which he 
was most resolute with himself, never to leave any- 
thing which he had taken in hand uncompleted, unless 
he could see his place satisfactorily supplied. And he 
could not but hold in small respect persons who intro- 
duce confusion around themselves only to make their 
absence felt, and are ready to disturb, in wanton 
selfishness, what they will not be at hand to restore. 

So they laboured on, straining every nerve to make 
Ottilie's birthday splendid, without any open acknowl- 
edgment that this was what they were aiming at, or, 
indeed, without their directly acknowledging it to 
themselves. Charlotte, wholly free from jealousy as 
she was, could not think it right to keep it as a real 
festival. Ottilie's youth, the circumstances of her for- 
tune, and her relationship to their family, were not at 
all such as made it fit that she should appear as the 
queen of the day; and Edward would not have it 
talked about, because everything was to spring out, 
as it were, of itself, with a natural and delightful 
surprise. 

They therefore came, all of them, to a sort of tacit 
understanding, that on this day, without further cir- 
cumstance, the new house in the park was to be 



*5* 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



opened, and they might take the occasion to invite 
the neighbourhood, and give a holiday to their own 
people, Edward's passion, however, knew no bounds. 
Longing as lie did to give himself to Ottilie, his pres- 
ents and promises there* were no limits to. The birth- 
day gifts which on the great occasion be was to offer 
her seemed, as Charlotte had arranged them, far too 
insignificant. He spoke to his valet, who had the care 
of his wardrobe, and who, consequently, had extensive 
acquaintance among the tailors and mercers and fash* 
ion able milliners; and he, who not only understood 
himself what valuable presents were, but also the most 
graceful way in which they should be offered, im- 
mediately ordered an elegant box, covered with red 
morocco, and studded with steel nails, to be filled with 
presents worthy of such a shelL Another thing, too, 
he suggested to Edward. Among the stores at the 
castle was a small stock of fireworks which had never 
been lei off. It would be easy to get some more, and 
have something really fine. Edward caught the idea, 
and his servant promised to see to its being executed. 
This matter was to remain a secret. 

While this was going on, the captain, as the day 
drew nearer, had been making arrange me nts for a body 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



*SS 



tions on the water, the water-rockets, and floating- 
lights, and all the other designs. 

Under some other pretext, Edward had the ground 
underneath the plane-trees cleared of bushes and grass 
and moss. And now first could be seen the beauty of 
their forms, together with their full height and spread 
right up from the earth. He was delighted with them. 
It was just this very time of the year that he had 
planted them. " How long ago could it have been ? w 
he said to himself. As soon as he got home, he turned 
over the old diary-books, which his father, especially 
when in the country, was very careful in keeping. He 
might not find an entry of this particular planting; 
but another important domestic matter, which Edward 
well remembered, and which had occurred on the same 
day, would surely be mentioned. He turned over a 
few volumes. The circumstance he was looking for 
was there. How amazed, how overjoyed he was, when 
he discovered the strangest coincidence ! The day 
and the year on which he had planted those trees, was 
the very day, the very year, when Ottilie was born. 



CHAPTER XV. 

The long- wish ed-f or morning dawned at last on 
Edward, and very soon a number of guests arrived. 
They had sent out a large number o£ invitations; and 
many who had missed the laying of the foundation- 
stone, which was reported to have been so charming, 
were the more careful not to be absent on the second 
festivity. 

Before dinner the carpenter's people appeared, with 
music, in the court of the castle. They bore an im- 
mense garland of flowers, composed of a number of 
single wreaths, winding in and out, one above the 
other ; saluting the company, they made request, ac- 
cording to custom, for silk handkerchiefs and ribbon a, 
at the hands of the fair sex, with which to dress them- 
selves out. While dinner was going on in the castle, 
they marched off, singing and shouting; and, after 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 257 

and as if the gaieties had been ordered to commence 
directly on her arrival 

To remove the rough exterior from the house, it had 
been hung with green boughs and flowers. They had 
dressed it out in an architectural fashion, according to 
a design of the captain's: only that, without his 
knowledge, Edward had desired the architect to work 
in the date upon the cornice in flowers ; and this was 
necessarily permitted to remain. The captain had 
only arrived on the scene in time to prevent Ottilie's 
name from figuring in splendour on the gable. The 
beginning, which had been made for this, he contrived 
to turn skilfully to some other use, and to get rid of 
such of the letters as had been already finished. 

The wreath was set up, and was to be seen far and 
wide about the country. The flags and the ribbons 
fluttered gaily in the air; and a short oration was, 
the greater part of it, dispersed by the wind. The 
solemnity was at an end. There was now to be a 
dance on the smooth lawn in front of the building, 
which had been enclosed with boughs and branches. 
A handsome journeyman carpenter led up to Edward 
a bright girl of the village, and called himself upon 
Ottilie, who stood out with him. These two couples 
speedily found others to follow them ; and Edward 
contrived pretty soon to change partners, catching 
Ottilie, and making the round with her. The younger 
part of the company joined merrily in the dance with 
the people, while the elder among them stood and 
looked on. 

Then, before they broke up and walked about, an 
order was given that they should all collect again at 
sunset under the plane-trees. Edward was the first 
upon the spot, ordering everything, and making his 
arrangements with his valet, who was to be on the 
other side, in company with the firework-maker, man- 
aging his exhibition of the spectacle. 



*5& 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



The captain was far from satisfied at some of the 
pre pa rat ion s which he saw made, and he endeavoured 
to get a word with Edward about the crush of spec- 
tators which was to be expected. But the latter, some- 
what hastily, begged that he might be allowed to 
manage this part of the day's amusements himself. 

The upper end of the embankment, having been 
recently raised, was still far from compact It had 
been staked ; but there was no grass upon it, and the 
earth was uneven and insecure. The crowd pressed 
on, however, in great numbers. The sua went down ; 
and the company was served with refreshments under 
the plane-trees, to pass the time till it should have 
become sufficiently dark. The place was approved 
of beyond measure ; and they looked forward to 
frequently enjoying the view, over so lovely a sheet 
of water, on future occasions. 

A calm evening — a perfect calm — promised every* 
thing in favour of the spectacle, when suddenly loud 
and violent shrieks were heard. Large masses of the 
earth had given way on the edge of the embankment, 
and a Dumber of people were precipitated into the 
water. The pressure from the throng had gone on in* 
creasing till at Last it had become more than the 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 259 

with the exception of one boy, whose struggles in his 
fright, instead of bringing him nearer to the embank- 
ment, had only carried him farther from it. His 
strength seemed to be failing — now only a hand was 
seen above the surface, and now a foot. By an unlucky 
chance the boat was on the opposite shore filled with 
fireworks : it was a long business to unload it, and help 
was slow in coming. The captain's resolution was 
taken: he flung off his coat; all eyes were directed 
toward him, and his sturdy, vigorous figure gave every 
one hope and confidence ; but a cry of surprise rose 
out of the crowd as they saw him fling himself into the 
water : every eye watched him as the strong swimmer 
swiftly reached the boy, and bore him, although to 
appearance dead, to the embankment. 

Now the boat came up. The captain stepped in, 
and inquired of those who were present whether all 
had been saved. The surgeon was speedily on the 
spot, and took charge of the inanimate boy. Charlotte 
joined them, and entreated the captain to go now 
and take care of himself, to hurry back to the castle and 
change his clothes. He would not go, however, till 
persons on whose sense he could rely, who had been 
close to the spot at the time of the accident, and who 
had assisted in saving those who had fallen in, assured 
him that all were safe. 

Charlotte saw him on his way to the house ; and 
then she remembered that the wine and the tea, 
and everything else which he could want, had been 
locked up, for fear any of the servants should take 
advantage of the disorder of the holiday, as on such 
occasions they are too apt to do. She hurried through 
the scattered groups of her company, which were 
loitering about the plane-trees. Edward was there, 
talking to every one — beseeching every one to stay. 
He would give the signal directly, and the fireworks 
should begin. Charlotte went up to him, and entreated 



260 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



him to put off an amusement which was no longer in 
place, and which at the present moment no one could 
enjoy. She reminded him of what ought to be done 
for the boy who had been saved, and for his preserver- 

" The surgeon will do whatever is right, no doubt" 
replied Edward. K He is provided with everything 
which he can want, and we should only be in the way 
if we crowded about him with our anxieties." 

Charlotte persisted in her opinion, and made a sign 
to Ottilie, who at once prepared to retire with her, 
Edward seized her hand, and cried, * We will not end 
this day in a lazaretto. She is fcK> good for a sister of 
mercy. Without us, I should think, the half-dead may 
wake, and the liviog dry themselves." 

Charlotte did not answer, but went Some followed 
her ; others followed these ; in the end, no one wished 
to he the last, and all followed, Edward and Qttilie 
found themselves alone under the plane-trees. He 
most urgently insisted on staying, notwithstanding the 
anxiety with which she entreated him to go back with 
her to the castle. " No, Ottilie | " he cried : B the ex- 
traordinary is not brought to pass in the smooth, com- 
mon way, — the wonderful accident of this evening 
brings us more speedily together. You are mine, — I 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 261 

candles shot out their blazing balls, squibs flashed and 
darted, wheels spun round, first singly, then in pairs, 
then all at once, faster and faster, one after the other, 
and more and more together. Edward, whose bosom 
was on fire, watched the blazing spectacle with eyes 
gleaming with delight ; but Ottilie, with her delicate 
and nervous feelings, in all this noise and fitful blazing 
and flashing found more to distress her than to please. 
She leaned shrinking against Edward ; and he, as she 
drew to him and clung to him, felt the delightful sense 
that she belonged entirely to him. 

The night had scarcely reassumed its rights, when 
the moon rose, and lighted their path as they walked 
back. A figure, with his hat in his hand, stepped 
across their way, and begged an alms of them : in the 
general holiday he said that he had been forgotten. 
The moon shone upon his face, and Edward recognised 
the features of the importunate beggar ; but, happy as 
he then was, it was impossible for him to be angry 
with any one. He could not recollect, that, especially 
for that particular day, begging had been forbidden 
under the heaviest penalties : he thrust his hand into 
his pocket, took the first coin which he found, and 
gave the fellow a piece of gold. His own happiness 
was so unbounded that he would have liked to have 
shared it with every one. 

In the meantime all had gone well at the castle. 
The skill of the surgeon, everything which was required 
being ready at hand, Charlotte's assistance, — all had 
worked together, and the boy was brought to life again. 
The guests dispersed, wishing to catch a glimpse or 
two of what was to be seen of the fireworks from the 
distance ; and, after a scene of such confusion, were glad 
to get back to their own quiet homes. 

The captain also, after having rapidly changed his 
dress, had taken an active part in what required to be 
done. It was now all quiet again, and he found him- 



262 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



self alone with Charlotte, Gently and affectionately 
he now told her that his time for leaving them ap- 
proached She had gone through so much that even- 
ing that this discovery made but a slight impression 
upon her : she had seen how her friend could sacrifice 
himself ; how he had saved another, and had himself 
been saved. These strange incidents seemed to foretell 
an important future to her, but not an unhappy one- 
Edward, who now entered with Ottilie, was likewise 
informed of the captain's impending departure. He 
suspected that Charlotte had known longer how near 
it was ; but he was far too much occupied with him- 
self, and with his own plans, to take it amiss, or care 
about it. 

On the contrary, he listened attentively, and with 
signs of pleasure, to the account of the excellent and 
honourable position in which the captain was to be 
placed. The course of the future was hurried im- 
petuously forward by his own secret wishes. Already 
he saw the captain married to Charlotte, and himself 
married to Ottilie. It would have been the richest 
present which any one could have made him, on the 
occasion of the day's festival. 

But how surprised was Ottilie, when, on going to 




CHAPTER XVI. 

The next morning the captain had disappeared, hav- 
ing left a grateful, feeling letter, addressed to his 
friends, upon his table. He and Charlotte had already 
taken a half-leave of each other the evening before. 
She felt that the parting was for ever, and she resigned 
herself to it ; for in the count's second letter, which 
the captain had at last shown to her, there was a hint 
of a prospect of an advantageous marriage; and, al- 
though he had paid no attention to it at all, she 
accepted it for as good as certain, and gave him up 
firmly and fully. 

Now, therefore, she thought that she had a right to 
require of others the same control over themselves 
which she had exercised herself: it had not been 
impossible to her, and it ought not to be impossible to 
them. With this feeling, she began the conversation 
with her husband ; and she entered upon it the more 
openly and easily, from a sense that the question must 
now, once for all, be decisively set at rest. 

" Our friend has left us," she said : " we are now 
once more together as we were, and it depends upon 
ourselves whether we choose to return altogether into 
our old position." 

Edward, who heard nothing except what flattered 
his own passion, believed that Charlotte, in these words, 
was alluding to her previous widowed state, and, in a 
roundabout way, was making a suggestion for a sepa- 
ration ; so that he answered, with a laugh, " Why not ? 
all we want is, to come to an understanding." But he 

263 



264 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



found himself sorely enough undeceived, as Charlotte 
continued, " And we have now a choice of opportu- 
nities for placing Ottilie in another situation. Two 
openings have offered themselves for her, either of 
which will do very weH Either she can return to the 
school, as my daughter has left it, and is with her 
great-aunt ; or she can be received into a desirable 
family, where, as the companion of an only child, she 
will enjoy all the advantages of a solid education," 

Edward, with a tolerably successful effort at com- 
manding himself, replied, " Ottilie has been so much 
spoiled, by living so long with us here, that she will 
scarcely like to leave us now/' 

" We have all of us been too much spoiled," said 
Charlotte, " and yourself not least. This is an epoch 
which requires us seriously to bethink ourselves. It is 
a solemn warning to us to consider what is really for 
the good of till the members of our little circle, and we 
ourselves must not be afraid of making sacrifices/* 

"At auy rate, I cannot see that it is right that 
Ottilie should be sacrificed * replied Edward ; * and 
that would be the case if we were now to allow her 
to be sent away among strangers. The captain's good 
genius has sought him out here ; we can feel easy, we 



n,, — „- i r 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 265 

moment," replied Edward, collecting himself ; " but so 
much may be said, that, if we cannot exactly tell what 
will come of it, we may resign ourselves to wait and 
see what the future may tell us about it." 

"No great wisdom is required to prophesy here," 
answered Charlotte; "and, at any rate, we ought to 
feel that you and I are past the age when people may 
walk blindly where they should not or ought not to 
go. There is no one else to take care of us : we must 
be our own friends, our own managers. No one expects 
us to commit ourselves in an outrage upon decency; 
no one expects that we are going to expose ourselves 
to censure or to ridicule." 

" How can you so mistake me ? " said Edward, unable 
to reply to his wife's clear, open words. " Can you find 
it a fault in me, if I am anxious about Ottilie's happi- 
ness ? I do not mean future happiness, — no one can 
count on that, — but what is present, palpable, and 
immediata Consider — don't deceive yourself — con- 
sider frankly Ottilie's case, torn away from us, and sent 
to live among strangers. I, at least, am not cruel 
enough to propose such a change for her." 

Charlotte saw too clearly into her husband's inten- 
tions through this disguise. For the first time she felt 
how far he had estranged himself from her. Her voice 
shook a little. " Will Ottilie be happy if she divides 
us ? " she said. " If she deprives me of a husband, and 
his children of a father ? " 

"Our children, I should have thought, were suffi- 
ciently provided for," said Edward with a cold smile, 
adding rather more kindly, " but why at once expect 
the very worst ? " 

" The very worst is too sure to follow this passion 
of yours," returned Charlotte. "Do not refuse good 
advice while there is yet time; do not throw away 
the means which I propose to save us. In troubled 
cases those must work and help who see the clearest : 



266 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



this time it is I. Dear, dearest Edward ! listen to me I 
Can you propose to me that now at once I shall 
renounce my happiness, renounce my fairest rights, 
renounce you ? " 

" Who says that ? " replied Edward with some em- 
barrass men L 

44 You yourself," answered Charlotte : n in determin- 
ing to keep Ottihe here, are you not acknowledging 
everything which must arise out of it ? I will urge 
nothing on you ; but, if you cannot conquer yourself, 
at least you will not be able much longer to deceive 
yourself." 

Edward felt how right she waa It is fearful to hear 
spoken out in words what the heart has gone on long 
permitting to itself in secret. To escape only for a 
moment, Edward answered, ** It is not yet clear to me 
what you want/ 1 

14 My intention," she replied, " was to talk over with 
you these two proposals : each of them has its advan- 
tages. The school would be best suited to her, as she 
now is; but the other situation is larger and wider, 
and promises more, when I think what she may be- 
come." She then detailed to her husband circumstan- 
tially what would lie before Ottilie in each position, 

words, M For my own part, I 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 267 

fully contrived trick to separate him for ever from his 
happiness. He appeared to leave the thing entirely to 
her, but in his heart his resolution was already taken. 
To gain time to breathe, to put off the immediate, 
intolerable misery of Ottilie's being sent away, he deter- 
mined to leave his house. He told Charlotte he was 
going; but he had blinded her to his real reason by 
telling her that he would not be present at Ottilie's 
departure, indeed, that from that moment he would see 
her no more. Charlotte, who believed that she had 
gained her pqjnt, approved most cordially. He ordered 
his horse, gave his valet the necessary directions what 
to pack up, and where he should follow him; and 
then, on the point of departure, he sat dowli and 
wrote: 

"EDWARD TO CHARLOTTE. 

"The misfortune,* my love, which has befallen us 
may or may not admit of remedy; only this I feel, 
that, if I am not at once to be driven to despair, I 
must find some means of delay for myself and for all 
of us. In making myself the sacrifice, I have a right 
to make a request. I am leaving my home, and I only 
return to it under happier and more peaceful auspices. 
While I am away, you keep possession of it — but with 
OttUie. I choose to know that she is with you, and 
not among strangers. Take care of her : treat her as 
you have treated her, only more lovingly, more kindly, 
more tenderly ! I promise that I will not attempt any 
secret intercourse with her. Leave me, as long a time 
as you please, without knowing anything about you. I 
will not allow myself to be anxious, nor need you be 
uneasy about me ; only, with all my heart and soul, I 
beseech you, make no attempt to send Ottilie away, or 
to introduce her into any other situation. Beyond the 
circle of the castle and the park, placed in the hands 
of strangers, she belongs to me ; and I will take posses- 



268 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

■ion of her ! If you have any regard for my affection, 
for my wishes, for my sufferings, yon will leave me 
alone to my madness; and, if any hope of recovery 
from it should ever hereafter offer itself to me, I will 
not resist" 

This last sentence had proceeded from his pen, not 
from his heart Even when he saw it upon the paper, 
he began bitterly to weep. That he, under any circum- 
stances, should renounce the happiness — even the 
wretchedness — of loving Ottilie ! He only now began 
to feel what he was doing : he was going away without 
knowing what was to be the result At any rale, he 
was not to see her again now : with what certainty 
could he promise himself that he would ever see her 
again ? But the letter was written, the horses were at 
the door: every moment he was afraid he might see 
Ottilie somewhere, and then his whole purpose would 
go to the winda He collected himself: he remem- 
bered, that, at any rate, he would be able to return at 
any moment he pleased, and that by his absence he 
would have advanced nearer to his wishes; on the 
other side, he pictured Ottilie to himself forced to leave 
the house if he stayed. He sealed the letter, ran down 
the steps, and sprang upon his horse. 

As he rode past the inn, he saw the beggar, to whom 
he had given so much money the night before, sitting 
under the trees : the man was comfortably enjoying 
his dinner, and, as Edward passed, stood up, and made 
him the humblest obeisance. That figure had appeared 
to him yesterday, when Ottilie was on his arm ; now it 
only served as a bitter reminiscence of the happiest 
hour of his Ufa His grief redoubled. The feeling of 
what he was leaving behind was intolerable. He 
looked again at the beggar. " Happy wretch ! w he 
cried, " you can still feed upon the alms of yesterday, 
and I cannot any more on the happiness of yesterday ! " 



k 



CHAPTER XVH 

Ottilie heard some one ride away, and went to the 
window in time just to catch a sight of Edward's back. 
It was strange, she thought, that he should have left 
the house without seeing her, without having even 
wished her good morning. She grew uncomfortable; 
and her anxiety did not diminish when Charlotte took 
her out for a long walk, and talked of various other 
things, but not once, and apparently on purpose, men- 
tioning her husband. When they returned, she found 
the table laid only with two covers. 

It is unpleasant to miss even the most trifling thing 
to which we have been accustomed. In serious things, 
such a loss becomes miserably painful Edward and 
the captain were not there. This had been the first 
time after a long interval that Charlotte herself had set 
out the table, and it seemed to Ottilie as if she was 
deposed. The two ladies sat opposite each other: 
Charlotte talked, without the least embarrassment, of 
the captain and his appointment, and of the little hope 
there was of seeing him again for a long time. The 
only comfort Ottilie could find for herself was in the 
idea that Edward had ridden after his friend, to accom- 
pany him a part of his journey. 

On rising from table, however, they saw Edward's 
travelling-carriage under the window. Charlotte, a 
little as if she was put out, asked who had had it 
brought round there. She was told it was the valet, 
who had some things there to pack up. It required all 
Ottilie's self-command to conceal her wonder and her 
distress. 

269 



270 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



The valet came in, and asked if they would be so 
good as to let him have a drinking-eup of his master's, 
a pair of silver s poo us, and a number of other things, 
which seemed to Ottilie to imply that he had gone 
some distance, and would be away for a long time. 

Charlotte gave him a very cold, dry answer* She 
did not kuow what he meant, — he had everything 
belonging to his master under his own care. What the 
man wanted was, to speak a word to Ottilie, and on 
some pretence or other to get her out of the room : he 
made some clever excuse, and persisted in bis request 
so far that Ottilie asked if she should go to look for the 
things for him. But Charlotte quietly aaid that she 
had better not. The valet had to depart, and the 
carriage rolled away. 

It was a dreadful moment for Ottilie* She under- 
stood nothing, comprehended nothing- She could only 
feel that Edward had been parted from her for a long 
time. Charlotte felt for her situation, and left her to 
herself. 

We will not attempt to describe what she went 
through, or how she wept* She suffered infinitely* 
She prayed that God would help her only over this one 
day. The day passed, and the night; and, when she 
came to herself again, she felt herself a changed being. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 271 

against the power of passion, yet she knew, too, the 
sure though slow influence of thought and reflection, 
and therefore missed no opportunity of inducing Ottilie 
to talk with her on every variety of subject. 

It was no little comfort to Ottilie when one day 
Charlotte took an opportunity of making (she did it on 
purpose) the wise observation, " How keenly grateful 
people were to us when we were able by stilling and 
calming them to help them out of the entanglements 
of passion ! Let us set cheerfully to work," she said, 
"at what the men have left incomplete: we shall be 
preparing the most charming surprise for them when 
they return to us, and our temperate proceedings will 
have carried through and executed what their impa- 
tient natures would have spoiled." 

u Speaking of temperance, my dear aunt, I cannot 
help saying how I am struck with the intemperance of 
men, particularly in respect of wine. It has often 
pained and distressed me, when I have observed how, 
for hours together, clearness of understanding, judg- 
ment, considerateness, and whatever is most amiable 
about them, will be utterly gone, and, instead of the 
good which they might have done if they had been them- 
selves, most disagreeable things sometimes threaten. 
How often may not wrong, rash determinations have 
arisen entirely from that one cause ! " 

Charlotte assented, but she did not go on with the 
subject. She saw only too clearly that it was Edward 
of whom Ottilie was thinking. It was not exactly 
habitual with him, but he allowed himself much more 
frequently than was at all desirable to stimulate his 
enjoyment and his power of talking and acting by such 
indulgence. If what Charlotte had just said had set 
Ottilie thinking again about men, and particularly 
about Edward, she was all the more struck and 
startled when her aunt began to speak of the impend- 
ing marriage of the captain as of a thing quite settled 



2J2 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



and acknowledged, whereby everything appeared quite 
different from what Edward had previously led her 
to entertain. It made her watch every expression of 
Charlotte' a, every hint, every action, every step. Ottilie 
had become jealous, sharp-eyed, and suspicious, with- 
out knowing iL 

Meanwhile, Charlotte with her clear glance looked 
through all the circumstances of their situation, and 
made arrangements which would provide, among other 
advantages, full employment for Ottilie, She con- 
tracted her household, not parsimoniously, hut into 
narrower dimensions; and indeed, in one point of view, 
these moral aberrations might be taken for a not un- 
fortunate accident. For in the style in which they 
had been going on, they had fallen imperceptibly into 
extravagance ; and from a want of seasonable reflec- 
tion, from the rate at which they had been living, and 
from the variety of schemes into which they had been 
launching out, their fine fortune, which had been in 
excellent condition, had been shaken, if not seriously 
injured. 

She did not interfere with the improvements going 
on in the park, hut, on the contrary, sought to advance 
whatever might form a basis for future operations- 
But here, too, she assigned herself a limit Her hus- 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 273 

hour by hour she recovered her spirits and her cheer- 
fulness. Ottilie only seemed to have done so. She 
was only for ever watching, in all that was said and 
done, for symptoms which might show her whether 
Edward would be soon returning ; and this one thought 
was the only one in which she felt any interest. 

She therefore welcomed the proposal that they 
should get together the boys of the peasants, and em- 
ploy them in keeping the park clean and neat. Edward 
had long entertained the idea. A pleasant-looking sort 
of uniform was made for them, which they were to put 
on in the evenings, after they had been properly cleaned 
and washed. The wardrobe was kept in the castle; 
the more sensible and ready of the boys themselves 
were entrusted with the management of it, the architect 
acting as chief director. In a very short time, the 
children acquired a kind of character. It was found 
easy to mould them into what was desired, and they 
went through their work not without a sort of ma- 
noeuvre. As they marched along, with their garden 
shears, their long-handled pruning-knives, their rakes, 
their little spades and hoes and sweeping-brooms; 
others following after these with baskets to carry off 
the stones and rubbish ; and others, last of all, trailing 
along the heavy iron roller, — it was a thoroughly 
pretty, delightful procession. The architect observed 
in it a beautiful series of situations and occupations to 
ornament the frieze of a garden-house. Ottilie, on the 
other hand, could see nothing in it but a kind of parade, 
to salute the master of the house on his near return. 

And this stimulated her, and made her wish to 
begin something of the sort herself. They had before 
endeavoured to encourage the girls of the village in 
knitting and sewing and spinning, and whatever else 
women could do; and, since what had been done for 
the improvement of the village itself, there had been 
a perceptible advance in these descriptions of industry. 



274 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Ottilie had given what assistance was in her power; 
but she had given it at random, as opportunity or 
inclination prompted her : now she thought she would 
go to work more satisfactorily and methodically. But 
a company is not to be formed out of a number of 
girls as easily as out of a number of boys. She 
followed her own good sense : and, without being 
exactly conscious of it, her efforts were solely directed 
toward connecting every girl as closely as possible 
each with her own home, her own parents, brothers, 
and sisters; and she succeeded with many of them 
One lively little creature only was incessantly com- 
plained of as showing no capacity for work, and as 
never likely to do any tiling if she were left at home. 

Ottilie could not be angry with the girl, for to 
herself the little thing was especially attached : she 
clung to her, went after her, and ran about with her, 
whenever she was permitted; and then she would he 
active and cheerful, and never tire. It appeared to 
he a necessity of the child's nature to hang about a 
beautiful mistress. At first Ottilie allowed her to be 
her companion : then she herself began to feel a sort 
of affection for her; and, at last, they never parted 
at all, and Nanny attended her mistress wherever 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 275 

Ottilie observed how well all the grafts which had 
been budded in the spring had taken. " I only wish," 
the gardener answered, " my good master may come to 
enjoy them. If he were here this autumn, he would 
see what beautiful sorts there are in the old castle 
garden, which the late lord, his honoured father, put 
thera I think the fruit-gardeners that are now don't 
succeed as well as the Carthusians used to do. We 
find many fine names in the catalogue; and then we 
bud from them, and bring up the shoots ; and, at last* 
when they come to bear, it is not worth while to have 
such trees standing in our garden." 

Over and over again, whenever the faithful old 
servant saw Ottilie, he asked when his master might 
be expected home; and, when Ottilie had nothing to 
tell him, he would look vexed, and let her see in his 
manner that he thought she did not care to tell him : 
the sense of uncertainty which was thus forced upon 
her became painful beyond measure, and yet she could 
never be absent from these beds and borders. What 
she and Edward had sown and planted together were 
now in full flower, requiring no further care from her, 
except that Nanny should be at hand with the water- 
ing-pot: and who shall say with what sensations she 
watched the later flowers, which were just beginning 
to show, and which were to be in the bloom of their 
beauty on Edward's birthday, the holiday to which 
she had looked forward with such eagerness, when 
these flowers were to have expressed her affection and 
her gratitude to him; but the hopes which she had 
formed of that festival were dead now, and doubt 
and anxiety never ceased to haunt the soul of the 
poor girl 

Into real, open, hearty understanding with Charlotte, 
there was no more a chance of her being able to re- 
turn ; for, indeed, the position of these two ladies was 
very different. If things could remain in their old 



2j$ 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



state, if it were possible that they could return again 
into the smooth, even way of calm, ordered life, Char- 
lotte gained everything: she gained happiness for the 
present, and a happy future opened before her. On 
the other hand, for Ottilie all was lost, — one may say 
all, for she had first found in Edward what life and 
happiness meant ; and, in her present position, she felt 
an infinite and dreary chasm of which before she could 
have formed no conception. For a heart which seeks, 
does indeed feel that it wants something; a heart 
which has lost, feels that something is gone, — its 
yearning and its longing changes into uneasy impa- 
tience: and a woman's spirit, which is accustomed to 
waiting and to enduring must now pass out from 
its proper sphere, become active, and attempt and do 
something to make its own happiness. 

Ottilie had not given up Edward — how could she ? 
— although Charlotte, wisely enough, in spite of her 
conviction to the contrary, assumed it as a thing of 
course, and resolutely took it as decided that a quiet, 
rational regard was possible between her husband and 
Ottilie. How often, however, did not Ottilie remain 
at nights, after bolting herself into her room, on her 
knees before the open box, gazing at the birthday 



CHAPTER XVnL 

It may easily be supposed that Mittler, — the 
strange, busy gentleman, whose acquaintance we have 
already made, — when he had received information 
of the calamity that had come upon his friends, felt 
desirous, though neither side had as yet called on him 
for assistance, to give proof of his friendship, and do 
what he could to help them in their misfortune. He 
thought it advisable, however, to wait first a little 
while ; knowing too well, as he did, that it was more 
difficult to persons of culture in their moral perplexi- 
ties, than the uncultivated. He left them, therefore, 
for some time to themselves: but at last he could 
withhold no longer ; and he hastened to find Edward, 
whom he had already traced. His road led him to a 
pleasant valley, with green, sweetly wooded meadows, 
down the centre of which ran a never-failing stream, 
sometimes winding slowly along, then tumbling and 
rushing among rocks and stones. The gently sloping 
hills were covered with rich corn-fields and well-kept 
orchards. The villages not being situated too near 
each other, the whole had a peaceful character about 
it ; and the detached scenes seemed designed expressly, 
if not for painting, at least for lif a 

At last he caught sight of a neatly kept farm, with 
a clean, modest dwelling-house situated in the middle 
of a garden. He conjectured that this was Edward's 
present abode, and he was not mistaken. 

As for the latter, in his solitude he gave himself up 
entirely to his passion, thinking out plan after plan, 

277 



278 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



and indulging in all sorts of hopes. He could not 
deny that he longed to see OttUie there ; that he 
won Id like to carry her off there, to tempt her there; 
and whatever else (putting, as he now did, no check 
upon his thoughts) pleased to suggest itself , whether 
permitted or unpermitted. Then his imagination 
wavered, picturing every manner of possibility. If 
he could not have her there, if he could not lawfuDy 
possess her, he would secure to her the possession of 
the property for her own. There she should Eve !ot 
herself, silent, independently ; she should be happy in 
that spot, — sometimes his self-torturing mood would 
lead him farther, — be happy in it, perhaps, with 
another. 

Thus days passed in incessant oscillation between 
hope and suffering, between tears and happiness, be- 
tween ] mr poses, preparations, and despair. The sight 
of Mittler did not surprise him : he had long expected 
that he would come ; and, now that he did, he was 
rather glad to see him. He believed that he had been 
sent by Charlotte. He had prepared all manner of 
excuses and delays, and, if these would not serve, 
decided refusals; or else, perhaps, he might hope to 
learn something of Ottilie, — and then he would 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 279 

for burying himself in that lonely place, whereupon 
Edward replied: 

" I do not know how I could spend my time more 
agreeably. I am always occupied with her, I am 
always close to her. I have the inestimable comfort 
of being able to think where Ottilie is at each moment, 
— where she is going, where she is standing, where 
she is reposing. I see her moving and acting before 
me as usual, ever doing or designing something which 
is to give me pleasure. But this will not always an- 
swer, for how can I be happy away from her ? And then 
my fancy begins to work : I think what Ottilie should 
do to come to me; I write sweet, loving letters in 
her name to myself; and then I answer them, and 
collect the sheets. I have promised that I will take 
no steps to seek her, and that promise I will keep. But 
what ties her, that she should make no advances to 
me? Has Charlotte had the barbarity to exact a 
promise, to exact an oath, from her, not to write to 
me, not to send me a word, a hint, about herself? 
Very likely she has. It is but natural ; and yet to me 
it is monstrous, it is horrible. If she loves me, — as I 
think, as I know, she does, — why does not she come 
to a resolution ? why does not she venture to flee to 
me, and throw herself into my arms ? I often think 
she ought to do it; and she could do it. If I ever 
hear a noise in the hall, I look toward the door. It 
must be she — she is coming — I look up to see her 
enter. Alas ! because the possible is impossible, I let 
myself imagine that the impossible must become pos- 
aibla At night, when I lie awake, and the lamp is 
casting an uncertain light about the room, I wish her 
form, her spirit, a sense of her presence, to hover past 
me, approach me, seize me, but for a moment, so that 
I might have an assurance that she is thinking of me, 
that she is mine. Only one pleasure remains to me. 
When I was with her I never dreamed of her ; now 



a So 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



when I am far away, and, oddly enough, since I have 
made the acquaintance of other attractive persons in 
this neighbourhood, for the first time her figure appears 
to me in my dreams, as if she would say to me, ' Look 
at them, and at me. You will not find one more beau- 
tiful, more lovely, than 1/ And thus her image min- 
gles with my every dream. In whatever happens to 
me with her, our two beings become intert wined. 
Now we are signing a contract together. There is 
her handwriting, and there is mine ; there is her name, 
and there is mine ; and they are interwoven with, ex- 
tinguished by, each other. Sometimes she does some- 
thing which injures the pure idea I have of her ; and 
then I feel how intensely I love her, by the indescrib- 
able anguish it causes me. Again, unlike herself, she 
will tease and vex me; and then at once the figure 
changes, her sweet, round, heavenly face becomes 
lengthened; it is not she, it is another; but I lie 
vexed, dissatisfied, and wretched. Laugh not, dear 
Mittler, or laugh on as you will. I am not ashamed 
of tliis attachment, of this — if you please to call it 
so — foolish, frantic passion, No, I never loved before. 
It is only now that 1 know what to love means. Till 
now, what I have called life was nothing but its pre* 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 281 

before his eyes, that, overpowered by the pain of the 
struggle, he burst into tears, which flowed all the more 
freely as the heart had been made weak by telling it 
all. 

Mittler, who was the less disposed to put a check on 
his inexorable good sense and strong, vigorous feeling, 
because by this violent outbreak of passion on Edward's 
part he saw himself driven far from the purpose of his 
coming, showed sufficiently decided marks of his dis- 
approbation. Edward should act as a man, he said : 
he should remember what he owed to himself as a 
man. He should not forget that the highest honour 
was to command ourselves in misfortune ; to bear pain, 
if it must be so, with equanimity and self-collectednesa 
That was what we should do, if we wished to be 
valued and looked up to as examples of what was 
right. 

Stirred and penetrated as Edward was with the 
bitterest feelings, words like these could but have a 
hollow, worthless sound. 

" It is well," he cried, " for the man who is happy, 
who has all that he desires, to talk ; but he would be 
ashamed of it if he could see how intolerable it was to 
the sufferer. Nothing short of an infinite endurance 
would be enough ; and, easy and contented as he was, 
what could he know of an infinite agony ? There are 
cases," he continued, " yes, there are, where comfort is 
a lie, and despair is a duty. Go, heap your scorn upon 
the noble Greek, who well knows how to delineate 
heroes, when in their anguish he lets those heroes 
weep. He has even a proverb, ' Men who can weep 
are good.' Leave me, all you with dry heart and dry 
eye. Curses on the happy, to whom the wretched 
serve but for a spectacle ! When body and soul are 
torn in pieces with agony, they are to bear it, — yes, 
to be noble and bear it, if they are to be allowed to go off 
the scene with applause. like the gladiators, they 



282 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



must die gracefully before the eyes of the multituda 
My dear Mittler, I thank you for your visit ; but really 
you would oblige me much, if you would go out, and 
look about you in the garden. We will meet again. 
1 will try to compose myself, and become more like 
you." 

Mittler was unwilling to let a conversation drop, 
which it might be difficult to begin again, and still 
persevered. Edward, too, was quite ready to go on with 
it; besides that of itself, it was tending toward the 
issue which he desired. 

" Indeed," said the latter, " this thinking and argu- 
ing backwards and forwards leads to nothing. In this 
very conversation I myself have first come to under- 
stand myself : I have first felt decided as to what I 
must make up my mind to do. My present and my 
future life 1 see before me: I have to choose only 
between misery and happiness. Do you, my best 
friend, bring about the separation which must take 
place, which, in fact, is already made ; gain Charlotte's 
consent for me. I will not enter into the reasons why 
I believe there will be the less difficulty in prevailing 
upon her. You, my dear friend, must go. Go, and 
give us all peace ; make us all happy." 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 283 

and accursed of all the plagues of mankind. We trifle 
with prophecies, with forebodings, and dreams, and 
give a seriousness to our every-day life with them; 
but when the seriousness of life itself begins to show, 
when everything around us is heaving and rolling, 
then come in these spectres to make the storm more 
terrible." 

" In this uncertainty of life," cried Edward, " poised 
as it is between hope and fear, leave the poor heart its 
guiding-star. It may gaze toward it, if it cannot steer 
toward it." 

" Yes, I might leave it ; and it would be very well," 
replied Mittler, " if there were but one consequence to 
expect: but I have always found that nobody will 
attend to symptoms of warning. Man cares for noth- 
ing except what flatters him, and promises him fair ; 
and his faith is alive exclusively for the sunny side." 

Mittler, finding himself carried off into the shadowy 
regions, in which the longer he remained in them the 
more uncomfortable he always felt, was the more ready 
to assent to Edward's eager wish that he should go to 
Charlotte. Indeed, if he stayed, what was there further 
which at that moment he could urge on Edward ? To 
gain time, to inquire in what state things were with 
the ladies, was the best thing which even he himself 
could suggest as at present possible. 

He hastened to Charlotte, whom he found as usual, 
calm and in good spirits. She told him readily of 
everything which had occurred ; for, from what Edward 
had said, he had only been able to gather the effects. 
On his own side, he felt his way with the utmost cau- 
tion. He could not prevail upon himself even cursorily 
to mention the word separation. It was indeed a sur- 
prise to him, but, from his point of view, an unspeak- 
ably delightful one, when Charlotte, at the end of a 
number of unpleasant things, finished with saying : 

" I must believe, I must hope, that things will all 





1i3JO^ ^3B^5K^ ^__ 




284 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

work round again , and that Edward will return to ma 
How can it be otherwise, as soon as I become a 
mother ? " 

* Do I understand you right t " returned Mittler. 
" Perfectly/' Charlotte answered. 

* A thousand times blessed be this news ! " he cried, 
clasping his hands together. *■ T know the strength 
of this argument on the mind of a man. Many a 
marriage have I seen first cemented by it, and restored 
again when broken. Such a good hope as this is worth 
more than a thousand words. Now, indeed, it is the 
best hope which we can have. For myself, though" 
he continued, " I have all reason to be vexed about it 
In this case I can see clearly no self-love of mine will 
be flattered. 1 shall earn no thanks from yon by my 
services : my case is the same as that of a certain medi- 
cal friend of mine, who succeeds in all cures which he 
undertakes with the poor for the love of God, but can 
seldom do anything for the rich who will pay him. 
Here, thank God, the thing cures itself, after all my 
talking and trying had proved fruitless !" 

Charlotte now asked him if he would carry the news 
to Edward ; if he would take a letter to him from her, 
and then see what should be done. But he declined 
^^^undertakim^his^*^ 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 285 

off the cover, and stood petrified at the following 
passage, with which it concluded : 

" Remember the night-adventure when you visited 
your wife as a lover, — how you drew her to you, and 
clasped her as a well-beloved bride in your arms. In 
this strange accident let us revere the providence of 
Heaven, which has woven a new link to bind us, at the 
moment when the happiness of our lives was threaten- 
ing to fall asunder, and to vanish." 

What passed from that moment in Edward's soul it 
would be difficult to describe. Under the weight of 
such a stroke, old habits and fancies come out again to 
assist to kill the time and fill up the chasms of life. 
Hunting and fighting are an ever-ready resource of this 
kind for a nobleman : Edward longed for some out- 
ward peril, as a counterbalance to the storm within 
him. He craved for death, because the burden of life 
threatened to become too heavy for him to bear. It 
comforted him to think that he would soon cease to 
be, and so would make those whom he loved happy by 
his departure. 

No one made any difficulty in his doing what he 
purposed, because he kept his intention a secret. He 
made his will with all due formalities. It gave him 
a very sweet feeling to secure Ottilie's fortune ; provi- 
sion was made for Charlotte, for the unborn child, for 
the captain, and for the servants. The war, which had 
again broken out, favoured his wishes : he had disliked 
exceedingly the half-soldiering which had fallen to him 
in his youth, and that was the reason why he had left 
the service. Now it gave him a fine exhilarating feel- 
ing to be able to rejoin it, under a commander of 
whom it could be said, that under his conduct death 
was likely and victory was sure. 

Ottilie, when Charlotte's secret was made known to 



*86 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



her, bewildered by it, like Edwaid, and more than he, 
retired into herself, — she had nothing further to say : 
hope she could not, and wish she dared not, A 
glimpse into what was passing in her we can gather 
from her diary, some passages of which we think to 
communicate. 



Elective Affinities 
Part II. 



CHAPTEE L 

There often happens to us in common life what, in 
an epic poem, we are accustomed to praise as a stroke 
of art in the poet ; namely, that when the chief figures 
go off the scene, withdraw into inactivity, sdme other or 
others, whom hitherto we have scarcely observed, come 
forward and fill their places. And these, putting out all 
their force, at once fix our attention and sympathy on 
themselves, and earn our praise and admiration. 

Thus, after the captain and Edward were gone, the 
architect, of whom we have spoken, appeared every day 
a more important person. The ordering and executing 
of a number of undertakings depended entirely upon 
him, and he proved himself thoroughly understanding 
and businesslike in the style in which he went to 
work ; while in a number of other ways he was able 
also to make himself of assistance to the ladies, and 
find amusement for their weary hours. His outward 
air and appearance were of the kind which win confi- 
dence and awake affection. A youth in the full sense 
of the word, well-formed, tall, perhaps a little too stout ; 
modest without being timid, and easy without being ob- 
trusive, — there was no work and no trouble which he 
was not delighted to take upon himself ; and as he could 
keep accounts with great facility, the whole economy of 
the household soon was no secret to him : and every- 
where his salutary influence made itself felt. Any 
stranger who came he was commonly set to entertain ; 
and he was skilful, either at declining unexpected 
visits, or at least so far preparing the ladies for them as 
to spare them any disagreeableness. 

289 



2 9° 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 




One day he had a good deal of tremble with a 
lawyer, who had been seat by a neighbouring noble: 
to apeak about a matter which, although of no particu- 
lar moment, yet touched Charlotte to the quick, We 
have to mention this incident because it gave occasion 
for a number of things which otherwise might perhaps 
have remained long untouched. 

We remember certain alterations which Charlotte 
had made in the churchyard. The entire body of the 
monuments had been removed from their places* and 
had been ranged along the walls of the church, 
against the string-course. The remaining space 
been levelled, except a broad walk which led up 
church, and past it to the opposite gate ; and it had 
been all sown with various kinds of trefoil, which had 
shot up and flowered most beautifully. 

The new graves were to follow one after another in 
a regular order from the end, but the spot on each 
occasion was to be carefully smoothed over and again 
sown. No one could deny, that on Sundays and holidays, 
when the people went to church, the change had given 
it a most cheerful and pleasant appearance. At the 
same time, the clergyman, an old man clinging to old 
customs, who at first had not been especially pleased 
with the alteration, had become thoroughly delighted 






ces* ana 

leaning 

ace had 

p to the 

I it haA 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 291 

might be, they could only show who had been buried, 
but not where he had been buried ; and the where, as 
many maintained, was everything. 

Of this opinion was a family in the neighbourhood, 
who for many years had been in possession of a con- 
siderable vault for a general resting-place of themselves 
and their relations, and in consequence had settled a 
small annual sum for the use of the church. And now 
this young lawyer had been sent to cancel this settle- 
ment, and to show that his client did not intend to pay 
it any more, because the condition under which it had 
been hitherto made had not been observed by the other 
party, and no regard had been paid to objection and 
remonstranca Charlotte, who was the originator of 
the alteration herself, chose to speak to the young man, 
who, in a decided though not a violent manner, laid 
down the grounds on which his client proceeded, and 
gave occasion in what he said for much serious reflec- 
tion. 

"You see," he said, after a slight introduction, in 
which he sought to justify his peremptoriness, "you 
see, it is right for the lowest as well as for the highest 
to mark the spot which holds those who are dearest to 
him. The poorest peasant, who buries a child, finds it 
some consolation to plant a light wooden cross upon 
the grave, and hang a garland upon- it, to keep alive 
the memorial, at least as long as the sorrow remains ; 
although such a mark, like the mourning, will pass 
away with tima Those better off exchange these 
wooden crosses for others made of iron, and fix and 
protect them in various ways; and here we have 
endurance for many years. But because this too will 
sink at last, and become invisible, those who are able 
to bear the expense see nothing fitter than to raise 
a stone which shall promise to endure for generations, 
and which can be restored and made fresh again by 
posterity. Yet it is not this stone which attracts us : 



2<J2 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



it is that which is contained beneath it, which is en- 
trusted, where it stands, to the earth. It is not the 
memorial so much, of which we speak, as the person 
himsejf ; not of what once was, bnt of what is. Far 
better, far more closely, can I embrace some dear de- 
parted one in the mound which rises over his bed, 
than in a monumental writing which only tells us that 
once he was. In itself, indeed, it is but little ; but 
around it, as around a central mark, the wife, the hus- 
band, the kinsman, the friend, after their departure, 
shall gather again : and the living shall have the right 
to keep far off all strangers and evil wishers from the 
side of the dear one who is sleeping there. 

ct And, therefore, I hold it quite fair and fitting that 
my principal shall withdraw his grant to you. It is, 
indeed, but too reasonable that he should do it; for 
the members of his family are injured in a way for 
which no compensation could be even proposed. They 
are deprived of the sad, sweet feeling a of laying offer- 
ings on the remains of their dead, and of the one com* 
fort in their sorrow of one day lying down at their 
side." 

"The matter is not of that importance/' Charlotte 
answered, " that we should disquiet ourselves about it 

30 little what 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 293 

as to be able to press to our breasts the inurned remains 
of those we have loved ; since we are neither wealthy 
enough nor of cheerful heart enough to preserve them 
undecayed in large elaborate sarcophagi ; since, indeed, 
we cannot even find place any more for ourselves and 
ours in the churches, and are banished out into the 
open air, — we all, I think, ought to approve the method 
which you, my gracious lady, have introduced. If the 
members of a congregation are laid out side by side, 
they are resting by the side of and among their kin- 
dred : and, since the earth has to receive us all, I can 
find nothing more natural or more desirable than that 
the mounds, which, if they are thrown up, are sure to 
sink slowly in again together, should be smoothed off 
at once ; and the covering, which all bear alike, will 
press lighter upon each." 

" And is it all, is it all to pass away," said Ottilie, 
" without one token of remembrance, without anything 
to call back the past ? " 

" By no means," continued the architect : " it is not 
from remembrance, it is from place, that men should 
be set free. The architect, the sculptor, are highly in- 
terested that men should look to their art, to their 
hand, for a continuance of their being ; and, therefore, 
I should wish to see well designed, well executed 
monuments, not sown up and down by themselves at 
random, but erected all in a single spot, where they 
can promise themselves endurance. Inasmuch as even 
the good and the great are contented to surrender the 
privilege of resting in person in the churches, toe may, 
at least, erect there, or in some fair hall near the bury- 
ing-place, either monuments or monumental writings. 
A thousand forms might be suggested for them, and a 
thousand ornaments with which they might be deco- 
rated." 

" If the artists are so rich," replied Charlotte, " then, 
tell me how it is that they are never able to escape 



^94 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



from little obelisks, dwarf pillars, and urns for ashea 
Instead of your thousand forms of which you boast, I 
have never seen anything but a thousand repetitions/* 

" It is very generally so with us,** returned the archi- 
tect, *' but it is not universal ; and very likely the right 
taste and the proper application of it may be a peculiar 
art. In this case especially we have this great diffi- 
culty, that the monument must be something cheerful, 
and yet commemorate a solemn subject ; while its mat- 
ter is melancholy, it must not itself be melancholy. As 
regards designs for monuments of all kinds, I have col* 
lected numbers of them ; and I will take some oppor- 
tunity of showing them to you : but at all times the 
fairest memorial of a man remains some likeness of 
himself. This, better than anything else, will give a 
notion of what he was : it is the best text for many or 
for few notes, — only it ought to be made when he is 
at his best age, and that is generally neglected. No 
one thinks of preserving forms while they are alive ; 
and, if it is done at all, it is done carelessly and incom- 
pletely : and then comes death ; a cast is swiftly taken, 
this mask is set upon a block of stone, — and that is 
what is called a bust. How seldom is the artist in a 
position to jmt any real life into such things as these ! " 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



«9S 



little they have been to us, it is no very pleasant re- 
flection. We have met a man of genius without having 
enjoyed much with him, a learned man without having 
learned from him, a traveller without having been in- 
structed, a man to love without having shown him any 
kindness. 

" And unhappily this is not the case only with acci- 
dental meetings. Societies and families behave in the 
same way toward their dearest members, towns toward 
their worthiest citizens, people toward their most ad- 
mirable princes, nations toward their most distinguished 
men. 

" I have heard people asked why we heard nothing 
but good spoken of the dead, while of the living it is 
never without some exception. The reply was, because 
from the former we have nothing any more to fear ; while 
the latter may still, here or there, fall in our way. So 
unreal is our anxiety to preserve the memory of others, 
generally no more than a mere selfish amusement ; and 
the real, holy, earnest feeling would be what should 
prompt us to be more diligent and assiduous in our 
attentions toward those who still are left to us." 



CHAPTER IL 



Under the stimulus of this accident, and of the 
conversations which arose out of it, they went the 
following day to look over the burying - place, for 

the orna men ting of which, and relieving it in some 
degree of its sombre look, the architect made many a 
happy proposal His interest, too, had to extend itself to 
the church as well, a building which had attracted his 
attention from the moment of his arrival 

It had been standing for many centuries, built in old 
German style, the proportions good, the decorating 
elaborate and excellent ; and one might easily gather 
that the architect of the neighbouring monastery had 
left the stamp of his art and of his love on this smaller 
building also : on the spectator it still made a solemn 
and agreeable impression, although the change in its 
internal arrangements for the Protectant service had 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 297 

the greatest surprise and delight of the architect, a 
little side chapel, which nobody had thought of, beau- 
tifully and delicately proportioned, and displaying still 
greater care and pains in its decoration. It contained, 
at the same time, many remnants, carved and painted, 
of the implements used in the old services, when the 
different festivals were distinguished by a variety of 
pictures and ceremonies, and each was celebrated in its 
own peculiar style. 

It was impossible for him not at once to take this 
chapel into his plan; and he determined to bestow 
especial pains on the restoring of this little spot as a 
memorial of old times, and of their taste. He saw 
exactly how he would like to have the vacant surfaces 
of the walls ornamented, and delighted himself with 
the prospect of exercising his talent for painting upon 
them ; but of this, at first, he made a secret to the rest 
of the party. 

Before doing anything else, he fulfilled his promise 
of showing the ladies the various imitations of, and 
designs from, old monuments, vases, and other such 
things which he had made; and, when they came to 
speak of the simple barrow-sepulchres of the northern 
nations, he brought a collection of weapons and imple- 
ments which had been found in them. He had got 
them exceedingly nicely and conveniently arranged in 
drawers and compartments, laid on boards cut to fit 
them, and covered over with cloth; so that these 
solemn old things, in the way he treated them, had 
a smart, dressy appearance; and it was like looking 
into the box of a trinket merchant. 

Having once begun to show his curiosities, and find- 
ing thera prove serviceable to entertain our friends in 
their loneliness, every evening he would produce one 
or other of his treasures. They were most of them of 
German origin, — pieces of metal, old coins, seals, and 
such like. All these things directed the imagination 





^^^^^^^^^^J|Tm i ^^^mwmT~"~i *^^^^^^mi 




298 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

back upon old times ; and when at last they came to 
amuse themselves with the first specimens of printing, 
woodcuts, and the earliest copperplate engraving; and 
when the church, in the same spirit, was growing out, 
every day, more a ad more in form and colour like the 
past, — they had almost to ask themselves whether 
they really were living in a modern time, whether it 
were not a dream that manners, customs, modes of 
life, and convictions were all really so changed. 

After such preparation, a great portfolio, which at 
last he produced, had the best possible effect. It con- 
tained* indeed, principally only outlines and figures; 
but, as these had been traced upon original pictures, 
they retained perfectly their ancient character; and 
most captivating indeed this character was to the 
spectators. All the figures breathed only the purest 
feeling ; every one, if not noble, at any rate was good ; 
cheerful composure, ready recognition of One above us, 
to whom all reverence is due ; silent devotion, in love 
and tranquil expectation, was expressed on every face, 
on every gesture. The old bald-headed man, the curly- 
pated boy, the light-hearted youth, the earnest man, 
the glorified saint, the angel hovering in the air, — all 
seemed happy in an innocent, satisfied, pious expecta- 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 299 

He spoke of it with some sadness ; for he could see, 
in the state in which things were, that his sojourn in 
such delightful society could not last for ever, — in- 
deed, that perhaps it would now soon be ended. 

For the rest, these days were not rich in incidents, 
yet full of occasions for serious entertainment. We 
therefore take the opportunity of communicating some- 
thing of the remarks Ottilie noted down among her 
manuscripts, to which we cannot find a fitter transition 
than through a simile that suggested itself to us on 
contemplating her exquisite pages. 

There is, we are told, a curious contrivance in the 
service of the English marine. The ropes in use in 
the royal navy, from the largest to the smallest, are so 
twisted that a red thread runs through them from end 
to end, which cannot be extracted without undoing the 
whole, and by which the smallest pieces may be recog- 
nised as belonging to the Crown. 

Just so is there drawn through Ottilie's diary a 
thread of attachment and affection which connects it 
all together and characterises the whole. And thus 
these remarks, these observations, these extracted sen- 
tences, and whatever else it may contain, were, to the 
writer, of peculiar meaning. Even the few separate 
pieces which we select and transcribe will sufficiently 
explain our meaning. 

FROM OTTILIE'S DIARY. 

"To rest hereafter at the side of those whom we 
love is the most delightful thought which man can 
have when once he looks out beyond the boundary of 
life. What a sweet expression is that, ' He was gath- 
ered to his fathers ! ' " 

" Of the various memorials and tokens which bring 
nearer to us the distant and the separated, none is so 



, i £ O T H 



3oo 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 






satisfactory as a picture. To sit and talk to a beloved 
picture, even though it be unlike, has a chann in it 
like the charm which there sometimes is in quarrelling 
with a friend. We feel, in a strange, sweet way, that 
we are divided and yet cannot separate/' 

" A person, in whose company we happen to be, 
affords us, sometimes, entertainment similar to that of 
a picture. He need not speak to us, he need not look 
at us, or take any notice of us ; we look at him, we 
feel the relation in which we stand to him ; such rela- 
tion can even grow without his doing anything toward 
it, without his having any feeling of it : he is to us 
exactly as a picture," 

" One is never satisfied with a portrait of a person 
that one knows. I have always felt for the portrait- 
painter on this account One so seldom requires 
people what is impossible, and of them we do really 
require what is impossible; they must gather up into 
their picture the relation of everybody to its subject, 
all their likings and all dialikiugs; they must not 
only paint a man as they see him* but as every one 
else sees him. It does not surprise me if such artists 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



3°* 



forefathers, and yet goes on occupying himself with 
memorials for posterity." 

"But after all why should we take it so much to 
heart ? Is all that we do, done for eternity ? Do we 
not put on our dress in the morning, to throw it off 
again at night ? Do we not go abroad to return home 
again ? And why should we not wish to rest by the 
side of our friends, though it were but for a century ? " 

"When we see the many gravestones which have 
fallen in, which have been defaced by the footsteps of 
the congregation, which he buried under the ruins of 
the churches, that have themselves crumbled together 
over them, we may fancy the life after death to be as 
a second life, into which a man enters in the figure, or 
the picture, or the inscription, and lives longer there 
than when he was really alive. But this figure also, 
this second existence, dies out too, sooner or later. 
Time will not allow himself to be cheated of his rights 
with the monuments of men or with themselves." 



"K. 




CHAPTER in. 



It causes us bo agreeable a sensation to occupy our- 
selves with what we can only half do, that no person 
ought to find fault with the amateur applying himself 
to an art he can never learn, nor blame an artist dis- 
posed to pass beyond the boundaries of his art, and 
amuse himself in some other branch of art akin to bis 
own. With such complacency of feeling we regard 
the preparation of the architect for the painting the 
chapel The colours were got ready, the measurements 
taken, the cartoons designed. He had made no at- 
tempt at originality, bat kept close to his outlines: 
his only care was to make a proper distribution of the 
sitting and floating figures, so as tastefully to orna- 
ment his space with thorn. 

The scaffoldings were erected. The work went for- 
ward; and, as soon as anything had been done oja 
which the eye could rest, he could have no objection 
to Charlotte and OttUie coming to see how be was 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 303 

Charlotte, who was always glad when Ottilie would 
occupy or amuse herself with anything, left them both 
in the chapel, and went to follow the train of her own 
thoughts, and work her way for herself through her 
cares and anxieties which she was unable to commu- 
nicate to a creature. 

When ordinary men allow themselves to be worked 
up by common, every-day difficulties into fever-fits of 
passion, we can give them nothing but a compassion- 
ate smile. But we look with a kind of awe on a spirit 
in which the seed of a great destiny has been sown, 
which must abide the unfolding of the germ, and 
neither dare nor can do anything to precipitate either 
the good or the ill, either the happiness or the misery, 
which is to arise out of it. 

Edward had sent an answer by Charlotte's mes- 
senger, who had come to him in his solitude. It was 
written with kindness and interest, but was rather 
composed and serious than warm and affectionate. 
He had vanished almost immediately after, and Char- 
lotte could learn no news about him ; till, at last, she 
accidentally found his name in the newspaper, where 
he was mentioned with honour among those who had 
most distinguished themselves in a late important 
engagement. She now understood the method which 
he had taken; she perceived that he had escaped 
from great danger; only she was convinced at the 
same time that he would seek out greater ; and it was 
all too clear to her, that, in every sense, he would 
hardly be withheld from any extremity. 

She had to bear about this perpetual anxiety in her 
thoughts ; and, turn which way she would, there was 
no light in which she could look at it that would give 
her comfort. 

Ottilie, never dreaming of anything of this, had 
taken to the work in the chapel with the greatest 
interest ; and she had easily obtained Charlotte's per- 




tbrj determined 

md frail, which 

and earth, 

ns pro- 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 305 

enter the chapeL One fine evening he came to them, 
and begged them both to go and see it. He did not 
wish to accompany them, he said, and at once took 
his leave. 

"Whatever surprise he may have designed for us," 
said Charlotte, as soon as he was gone, " I cannot my- 
self just now go down there. You can go by your- 
self, and tell me all about it. No doubt he has been 
doing something which we shall like. I will enjoy it 
first in your description, and afterward it will be the 
more charming in the reality." 

Ottilie, who knew well that in many cases Char- 
lotte took care to avoid everything which could pro- 
duce emotion, and particularly disliked to be surprised, 
set off down the walk by herself, and looked round 
involuntarily for the architect, who, however, was 
nowhere to be seen, and must have concealed him- 
self somewhere. She walked into the church, which 
she found open. It had been finished before, cleaned, 
and consecrated. She went on to the chapel-door ; its 
heavy mass, all overlaid with iron, yielded easily to 
her touch ; and she found an unexpected sight in a 
familiar spot. 

A solemn, beautiful light streamed in through the 
one tall window. It was filled with stained glass, 
gracefully put together. The entire chapel had thus 
received a strange tone, and called forth a peculiar 
frame of mind. The beauty of the vaulted ceiling 
and the walls was set off by the elegance of the pave- 
ment, which was composed of peculiarly shaped tiles, 
fastened together with gypsum, and forming exquisite 
patterns as they lay. This, and the coloured glass for 
the windows, the] architect had prepared without their 
knowledge; and a short time was sufficient to have 
it put in its place. 

Seats had been provided as well Among the relics 
of the old church some finely carved chancel-chairs 



306 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



had l*eeu discovered, which now were standing about 
at convenient places along the walla 

The parts which she knew so well, now meeting her 
as an unfamiliar whole, delighted Ottilia She stood 
still, walked up and down, looked and looked again. 
At last she seated herself in one of the chairs; and 
it seemed, as she gazed up and down, as if she was, 
and yet was not ; as if she felt, and did not feel ; as 
if all this would vanish from before her, and she would 
vanish from herself j and it was only when the sun 
left the window, on which before it had been shining 
full, that she awoke to possession of herself, and has- 
tened hack to the castle. 

She did not hide from herself the strange epoch 
at which this surprise had occurred to her, It was 
the evening of Edward's birthday. Very differently 
she had hoped to keep it How was not everything 
to be dressed out for this festival ! and now all the 
splendour of the autumn flowers remained ungathered, 
Those sunflowers were still turned to the sky ; those 
asters still looked out with quiet, modest eye ; and 
whatever of them all had been wound into w*reaths 
had served as patterns for the decorating a spot which, 
if it was not to remain a mere artist's fancy, was only 
adapted as a general mausoleum. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 307 

FROM OTTILIE'S DIARY 

"I have been struck with an observation of the 
young architect. 

" In the case of the creative artist, as in that of the 
artisan, it is clear that man is least permitted to appro- 
priate to himself what is most entirely his own. His 
works forsake him as the birds forsake the nest in 
which they were hatched. 

"The fate of the architect is the strangest of all 
in this way. How often he expends his whole soul, 
his whole heart and passion, to produce buildings into 
which he himself may never enter. The halls of kings 
owe their magnificence to him, but he has no enjoy- 
ment of them in their splendour. In the temple he 
draws a partition-line between himself and the holy 
of holies: he may never more set his foot upon the 
steps which he has laid down for the heart-thrilling 
ceremonial, as the goldsmith may only adore from 
far off the monstrance whose enamel and whose jewels 
he has himself set together. The builder surrenders 
to the rich man, with the key of his palace, all pleas- 
ure and all right there, and never shares with him in 
the enjoyment of it. And must not art in this way, 
step by step, draw off from the artist, when the work, 
like a child who is provided for, has no more to fall "7 
back upon its father ? And what a power there must 
be in art itself, for its own self-advancing, when it has 
been obliged to shape itself almost solely out of what 
was open to all, only out of what was the property of 
every one, and therefore also of the artist ! " 

" There is a conception among ancient nations, 
which is awful, and may almost seem terrible. They 
pictured their forefathers to themselves sitting round 
on thrones, in enormous caverns, in silent converse; 
when a newcomer entered, if he were worthy enough, 



3 oS 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



they rose up, and inclined their heads to welcome him. 
Yesterday, as I was sitting in the cbapel, and other 
carved chairs stood round like that in which I was, 
the thought of this came over me, with a soft, pleasant 
feeling. Why cannot you stay sitting here ? I said 
to myself; stay here sitting, meditating with yourself 
long, long, long, till at last your friends come, and you 
rise up to them, and with a gentle inclination direct 
them to their places. The coloured window-panes 
convert the day into a solemn twilight; and some 
one should set up for us an ever-burning lamp, that 
the night might not be utter darkness." 

"We may imagine ourselves in what situation we 
please, we always conceive ourselves as seeing. I believe 
man dreams only so that he may never cease to see* 
Some day, perhaps, the inner light will come out from 
within us ; and we shall not any more require another 

" The year dies away : the wind sweeps over the 
stubble, and there is nothing left to stir under its 
touch. But the red berries on yonder tall tree seem 
as if they would still remind us of brighter things, 
and the stroke of the thrasher's Sail awakes the thought 
how much of nourishment and life lies buried in the 



CHAPTER IV. 

How strangely, after all this, with the sense so 
vividly impressed on her of mutability and perishable- 
ness, must Ottilie have been affected by the news 
which could not any longer be kept concealed from 
her, that Edward had exposed himself to the uncertain 
chances of war ! Unhappily, none of the observations 
which she had occasion to make upon it escaped her. 
But it is well for us that man can only endure a 
certain degree of unhappiness: what is beyond that 
either annihilates him, or passes by him, and leaves 
him apathetic. There are situations in which hope 
and fear run together, in which they mutually destroy 
one another, and lose themselves in a dull indifference. 
If it were not so, how could we bear to know of those 
who are most dear to us being in hourly peril, and yet 
go on as usual with our ordinary every-day life ? 

It was, therefore, as if some good genius was caring 
for Ottilie, that, all at once, this stillness, in which she 
seemed to be sinking from loneliness and want of 
occupation, was suddenly invaded by a wild army, 
which, while it gave her externally abundance of em- 
ployment, and so took her out of herself, at the same 
time awoke in her the consciousness of her own power. 

Charlotte's daughter, Luciana, had scarcely left the 
school and gone out into the great world ; scarcely had 
she found herself at her aunt's house in the midst of a 
large society, — than her anxiety to please produced 
its effect in really pleasing : and a young, very wealthy, 
man soon experienced a passionate desire to make her 

309 



3«o 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



his own. His large property gave him a right to 
the best of everything for Mb use ; and nothing seemed 
to be wanting to him except a perfect wife^ for whom* 
as for the rest of his good fortune, he should be tl 
envy of the world* 

This incident in her family had been for some tir 
occupying Charlotta It had engaged all her attention, 
and taken up her whole correspondence, except so far as 
this was directed to the obtaining news of Edward : so 
that latterly Gttilie had been left more than was usual 
to herself. She knew, indeed, of an intended visit from 
Luciano. She had been making various changes and 
arrangements in the house in preparation for it, but 
she had no notion that it was so near. Letters, she 
supposed, would first have to pass, setting the time, 
and making arrangements: when the storm broke sud- 
denly over the castle and over herself. 

Up drove, first, lady's maids and men servants, their 
carriage loaded with trunks and boxes. The house- 
hold was already swelled to double or to treble its 
size, and then appeared the visitors themselves. There 
was the great-aunt, with Luciana and some of her 
friends, and then the bridegroom with some of his 
friends. The entrance-hall was full of things, — bags, 
portmanteaus, and leather articles of every sort. The 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 311 

would all have been glad of a little rest after it. The 
bridegroom would have liked to pay his respects to 
his mother-in-law, express his pleasure, his gratitude, 
and so on. But Luciana could not rest. She had 
now arrived at the happiness of being able to mount 
a horse. The bridegroom had beautiful horses, and 
mount they must on the spot. Clouds and wind, rain 
and storm, they were nothing to Luciana; and now 
it was as if they only lived to get wet through, and 
to dry themselves again. If she took a fancy to go 
out walking, she never thought what sort of dress she 
had on, or what her shoes were like ; she must go and 
see the grounds of which she had heard so much: 
what could not be done on horseback, she ran through 
on foot. In a little while she had seen everything, 
and given her opinion about everything, and with 
such rapidity of character it was not easy to con- 
tradict or oppo'se her. The whole household had 
much to suffer, but most particularly the lady's 
maids, who were at work from morning to night, 
washing and ironing and stitching. 

As soon as she had exhausted the house and the 
park, she thought it was her duty to pay visits all 
round the neighbourhood. As they rode and drove 
very fast, the visits extended to a considerable distance. 
The castle was overrun with people returning visits; 
and, that they might not miss one another, certain 
days were set apart for being at home. 

Charlotte, in the meantime, with her aunt, and the 
man of business of the bridegroom, was occupied in 
determining about the settlements ; and it was left to 
Ottilie, with those under her, to take care that all this 
crowd of people were properly provided for. Game- 
keepers and gardeners, fishermen and shop-dealers, 
were set in motion; Luciana always showing herself 
like the blazing nucleus of a comet with its long tail 
trailing behind it. The ordinary amusements of the 




3'* 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 




parties eoon became too insipid for her taste. Hardly 
would she leave the old people in peace at the card- 
table. Whoever could by any means be set moving 
(and who could resist the charm of being pressed by 
her into service 7) must up, if not to dance, then to 
play at forfeits, or some other game, where they were 
to be victimised and tormented- Notwithstanding all 
that, however, and although afterward the redeeming 
of the forfeits had to be settled with herself, yet of 
those who played with her, never any one, especially 
never any man, let him be of what sort he would. 
went quite empty-handed away. Indeed, some old 
people of rank who were there, she succeeded in com- 
pletely winning over to herself, by having contrived 
to find out their birthdays or christening-days, and 
marking them with some particular celebration* In 
all this she showed a skill not a little remarkable. 
Every one saw himself favoured t and each considered 
himself to be the one moat favoured, — a weakness of 
which the oldest person of the party was the most 
notably guilty. 

It seemed to be a sort of pride with her, that men 
who had anything remarkable about them, — rank, 
character, or fame, — she must and would gain for 
herself. Gravity and seriousness she made give wa 



■ 


— 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 313 

she resolved that she would make him the hero of a 
day, and so gain him for her court. 

It was not for nothing that she had brought that 
quantity of luggage with her. Much, indeed, had 
followed her afterward. She had provided herself 
with an endless variety of dresses. When it took her 
fancy, she would change her dress three or four times 
a day, usually wearing something of an ordinary kind, 
but making her appearance suddenly at intervals in a 
thorough masquerade-dress, as a peasant-girl or a fish- 
maiden, as a fairy or a flower-girl ; and this would go 
on from morning till night. Sometimes she would 
even disguise herself as an old woman, that her young 
face might peep out the fresher from under the cap; 
and so utterly in this way did she confuse and mix 
together the actual and the fantastic, that people 
thought they were living with a sort of drawing-room 
witch. 

But the principal use which she had for these dis- 
guises were pantomimic tableaux and dances, in which 
she was skilful in expressing a variety of character. 
A cavalier in her suite had arranged to play on the 
piano, by way of accompaniment to her gestures, what 
little music was required : they needed only to exchange 
a few words, and they at once understood one another. 

One day, in a pause of a brilliant ball, they were 
called upon suddenly to extemporise (it was on a pri- 
vate hint from themselves) one of these exhibitions. 
Luciana seemed embarrassed, taken by surprise, and, 
contrary to her custom, let herself be asked more than 
once. She could not decide upon her character, de- 
sired the party to choose, and asked, like an improv- 
visatore, for a subject. At last her musical assistant, 
with whom all had been previously arranged, sat down 
at the instrument, and began to play a mourning-march, 
calling on her to give them the " Artemisia " which she 
had been studying so admirably. She consented, and, 



BD** 







^*l C* lit 

E**'t 

< i ? 

fnxtgtt Lm*i 

bUutlJ w b ex ot thetalita, 

& frjtijjfc *.< t*^*» mod 

tomb, liiufct, indeed^ would hsve 

ba*<i tbuo a Cariu prince ; bat it vat m i 

prp'pwiiwi*, so solemn in iis puts* » Ml of _ 

04 <iwr*t;urj T that the spectator wfaAcd it grorog 




grainy 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 315 

something which should have looked like a monument, 
and devoted the rest of his time to her, it would have 
been far more what she had wished, and would have 
pleased her a great deal better. His manner of pro- 
ceeding had thrown her into the greatest embarrass- 
ment. For although in her sorrow, in her directions, 
in her gestures, in her approbation of the work as it 
slowly rose before her, she had tried to manage some 
sort of change of expression, and although she had 
hung about close to him, only to place herself into 
some sort of relation to him, yet he had kept him- 
self throughout too stiff; so that too often she had 
been driven to take refuge with her urn : she had to 
press it to her heart and look up to heaven ; and at 
last, a situation of that kind having a necessary tend- 
ency to intensify, she made herself more like a widow 
of Ephesus than a Queen of Caria. Thus the represen- 
tation lasted a long time. The musician, who had 
usually patience enough, did not know any more what 
strain to strike up. He thanked God when he saw the 
urn stand on the pyramid, and involuntarily his tune, 
as the queen was going to express her gratitude, 
changed to a merry air, by which the whole thing 
lost its character. The company, however, was quite 
cheered up by it, and forthwith separated ; some going 
up to express their delight and admiration of the lady 
for her excellent performance, and some praising the 
architect for his most artist-like and beautiful drawing. 

The bridegroom especially paid marked attention to 
the architect. " I am vexed," he said, " that the draw- 
ing should be so perishable : you will permit me, how- 
ever, to have it taken to my room, where I should 
much like to talk to you about it." 

" If it would give you any pleasure," said the archi- 
tect, " I can lay before you a number of highly finished 
designs for buildings and monuments of this kind, of 
which this is but a mere hasty sketch." 



3 i6 



EL£CTI\ F E AFFINITIES 



'utilie was standing at do great distance, and 
up to thtm. * Do not forget* she said to the architect, 
m Uj take an opportunity of letting the baron see year 
collection. He is & friend of ait and of antiquity. I 
should like yon to become better acquainted." 

Luciana was passing at the moment. * What are 
they speaking of?" she asked. 

m Of a collection of works of ait ,* replied the baron, 
* which this gentleman possesses, and which he is good 
enough to say that he will show as." 

" Oh, let him bring them immediately ! * cried Lnci- 
ana : " you will bring them, will you not ? * she added, 
in a soft and sweet tone, taking both his hands in hers* 

" The present is scarcely a fitting time/' the architect 
answered. 

"What!" Luciana cried, in a tone of authority: 
" you will not obey the command of your queen ? * 
and tli-? i j she begged him again with some piece of 
absurdity. 

" Do not be obstinate," said Ottilie, in a scarcely 
audible voice. 

The architect left them with a bow, signifying 
neither assent nor refusal. 

He was hardly gone, when Luciana was flying tip 
and down the saloon with a greyhound. "Alas!" she 



- ;%.- tJ J^*fc.-t 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 317 

ape-faces in the library, which you can have fetched if 
you like." 

Luciana shrieked for joy. The great folio was pro- 
duced instantly. The sight of these hideous creatures, 
so like to men, and with the resemblance even more 
caricatured by the artist, gave Luciana the greatest 
delight. It was her especial delight to find some one 
of her acquaintance whom the animals resembled. " Is 
that not like my uncle ! " she remorselessly exclaimed ; 

" and here, look, here is my milliner M ; and here 

is Parson S ; and here the image of that creature 

— bodily! After all, these monkeys are the real 
incroyables ; and it is inconceivable why they are not 
admitted into the best society/' 

It was in the best society that she said this, and yet 
no one took it ill of her. People had become accus- 
tomed to allow her so many liberties in her prettinessee, 
that at last they came to allow them in what was 
unpretty. 

During this time, Ottilie was talking to the bride- 
groom ; she was looking anxiously for the return of the 
architect, whose serious and tasteful collection was to 
deliver the party from the apes ; and, in the expecta- 
tion of it, she had made it the subject of her conver- 
sation with the baron, and directed his attention on 
various things which he was to sea But the architect 
stayed away ; and when at last he made his appearance 
he lost himself in the crowd, without having brought 
anything with him, and without seeming as if he had 
been asked for anything. 

For a moment Ottilie became — what shall we call 
it ? — annoyed, put out, perplexed. She had been say- 
ing so much about him — she had promised the bride- 
groom an hour of enjoyment after his own heart ; and, 
with all the depth of his love for Luciana, he was 
evidently suffering from her present behaviour. 

The monkeys had to give place to a collation. Round 



3i» 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



games followed, and then more dancing; at last, a 
general uneasy vacancy, with fruitless attempts at 
resuscitating exhausted amusements, which lasted this 
time, as indeed they usually did, long past midnight 
It had already become a habit with Luciana to be 
never able to get out of bed in the morning or into it 
at nlgl it. 

About this time, the incidents noticed in Ottilie*s diary 
become more rare ; while we find a larger number of 
maxims and sentences drawn from life and relating to 
life. It is not conceivable that the larger proportion 
of these could have arisen from her own reflection ; and 
most likely some one had shown her varieties of them, 
and she had written out what took her fancy. Many, 
however, with an internal bearing, can be easily recog- 
nised by the red thread. 



FStOM OTTILIE'S DIARY. 

" We like to look into the future, becauBe we feel as 
if we could guide by our silent wishes in our own 
favour the chances hovering in it," 



We seldom find ourselves in a large 



without 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 319 

" It is nature to communicate one's self : it is cul- 
ture to receive what is communicated as it is given." 

"No one would talk much in society, if he only 
knew how often he misunderstands others." 

"One alters so much what one has heard from 
others in repeating it, only because one has not under- 
stood it." 

" Whoever indulges long in monologue in the pres- 
ence of others, without flattering his listeners, provokes 
ill-will." 

"Every word a man utters provokes the opposite 
opinion." 

" Argument and flattery are but poor elements out 
of which to form a conversation." 

" The most pleasant kind of society is that in which 
those composing it have an easy and natural respect 
for one another." 

" There is nothing wherein people betray their char- 
acter more than in what they find to laugh at." 

" The ridiculous arises out of a moral contrast, in 
which two things are brought together before the mind 
in an innocent way." 

"The material man often laughs where there is 
nothing to laugh at. Whatever moves him, his inner 
nature comes to the surface." 

" The man of understanding finds almost everything 
ridiculous ; the man of higher insight scarcely anything." 



32D 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



* Some ooe found fault with an elderly man for 
continuing to pay attention to young ladies. f It is 
the only means, 1 he replied, 'of keeping one's self 
young ■ and everybody likes to do that** " 

w People will allow their faults to be shown them ; 
they will let themselves be punished for them ; they 
will patiently endure many things because of them ; 
they only become impatient when they have to lay 
them aside." 

" Certain defects are necessary for the existence of 
individuality. We should not be pleased if old friends 
were to lay aside certain peculiarities." 

" There is a saying, * He will die soon/ when a man 

act,? unlike himself" 

" What kind of defects may we bear with and even 
cultivate in ourselves ) Such as rather give pleasure 
to others than injure them." 

"The passions are defects or excellencies only in 

excess." 




CHAPTER V. 

So swept on Luciana in the social whirlpool, driving 
the rush of life along before her. Her court multi- 
plied daily, partly because her impetuosity roused and 
attracted so many, partly because she knew how to 
attach the rest to her by kindness and attention. 
Generous she was in the highest degree: her aunt's 
affection for her, and her bridegroom's love, had heaped 
her with beautiful and costly presents ; but she seemed 
as if nothing which she had was her own, and as if 
she did not know the value of the things which had 
streamed in upon her. One day she saw a young lady 
looking rather poorly dressed by the side of the rest of 
the party ; and she did not hesitate a moment to take 
off a rich shawl which she was wearing, and hang it 
over her, — doing it, at the same time, in such a hu- 
mourous, graceful way, that no one could refuse such 
a present so given. One of her courtiers always car- 
ried about a purse, with orders to inquire, in whatever 
place they passed through, for the most aged and most 
helpless persons, and give them relief, at least for the 
moment. In this way she gained for herself all 
round the country a reputation for charitableness, 
which grew, at times, somewhat inconvenient, through 
being molested by far too many persons needing help. 

Nothing, however, so much added to her popularity 
as her steady and consistent kindness toward an un- 
happy young man, who shrank from society because, 
while otherwise handsome and well formed, he had 
lost his right hand, although with high honour, in 

321 



$22 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



action. This mutilation weighed so heavily upon his 
spirits, it was so annoying to him that every new ac- 
quaintance he made had to be told the story of his 
misfortune, that he chose rather to shut himself up 
altogether de voting himself to reading and other stu- 
dious pursuits, and would have no dealings whatever 
with society. 

She heard of the state of this young man. At once 
she contrived to prevail upon him to come to her, first 
to small parties* then to greater, and then out into the 
world with her. She showed more attention to him 
than to any other person : particularly she endeav- 
oured, by the services which she pressed upon him, to 
make him sensible of what he had lost in labouring 
herself to supply it At dinner, she would make him 
sit next to her : she cut up his food for him, that he 
might only have to use his fork. If people older or 
of higher rank prevented her from being close to him, 
she would extend her attention to him across the 
entire table ; and the servants were hurried oflf to 
supply to him what distance threatened to deprive him 
of. At last she encouraged him to wTite with his left 
hand. All his attempts he was to address to her; and 
thus, whether far or near, she always kept herself in 
correspondence with him. The young man did not 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 323 

sort of freak ; but no person ever ventured to do the 
same to her, — no person dared to touch her, or return, 
in the remotest degree, any liberty which she had 
taken herself. She kept every one within the strictest 
bounds of propriety in their behaviour to herself; 
while she, in her own behaviour, was every moment 
overleaping them. 

On the whole, one might have supposed it to be a 
maxim with her to expose herself indifferently to 
praise or blame, to regard or to dislika If in various 
ways she took pains to win people's favour, she com- 
monly herself spoiled all the good she had done, by an 
ill tongue which spared no one. Not a visit was ever 
paid in the neighbourhood, not a single piece of hos- 
pitality was ever shown to herself and her party 
among the surrounding castles or mansions, but what 
on her return her excessive recklessness let it appear 
that all men and all human things she was only in- 
clined to see on the ridiculous side. 

There were three brothers, who, purely out of com- 
pliment to each other which should marry first, had 
been overtaken by old age before they had got the 
question settled : here was a little, young wife with a 
great, old husband; there, on the other hand, was 
a dapper little man and an unwieldy giantess. In one 
house, every step one took one stumbled over a child ; 
another, however many people were crammed into it, 
never would seem full, because there were no children 
there at all. Old couples (supposing the estate was 
not entailed) should get themselves buried as quickly as 
possible, that such a thing as a laugh might be heard 
again in the house. Young married people should 
travel: housekeeping did not sit well upon them. 
And as she treated the persons, so she treated what 
belonged to them, — their houses, their furniture, their 
dinner-services, — everything. The ornaments of the 
walls of the rooms most particularly provoked her 



3 2 4 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



funny remarks. From the oldest tapestry to the most 
modern printed paper; from the noblest family pic- 
tures to the most frivolous new copperplate, — one as 
well as the other had to suffer, one as well as the 
other had to be pulled in pieces by her satirical 
tongue : so that, indeed, one had to wonder how, for 
tweuty miles around, anything continued to exist. 

It was not, perhaps, exactly malice which produced 
all this destruetiveness ; it was wilfulness and selfish- 
ness that ordinarily set her off upon it : but a genuine 
bitterness grew up in her feelings toward Ottilia 

She looked down with disdain on the calm, uninter- 
rupted activity of the sweet girl, which every one had 
observed and admired : and, when something was said 
of the care which Ottilie took of the garden and of the 
hothouses, she not only spoke scornfully of it, in 
affecting tn be surprised, it it were so, at there being 
neither flowers nor fruit to be seen, not caring to con- 
sider that they were living in the depth of winter, but 
every faintest scrap of green, every leaf, every bud 
which showed, she chose to have picked every day, 
and squandered on ornamenting the rooms and tables ; 
and Ottilie and the gardener were not a little distressed 
to see their hopes for the next year, and perhaps for a 
longer time, destroyed in this wanton reckk 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 325 

ness gathered them all about her: no matter where- 
abouts in the great rooms she was, first or last, it was 
always the same. Even Luciana's bridegroom often 
conversed with her, — the more so, indeed, because he 
desired her advice and assistance in a matter just then 
engaging his attention. 

He had cultivated the acquaintance of the architect. 
On seeing his collection of works of art, he had taken 
occasion to talk much with him on history and on 
other matters, and especially from seeing the chapel 
had learned to appreciate his talent. The baron was 
young and wealthy. He was a collector : he wished 
to build. His love for the arts was keen, his knowl- 
edge slight. In the architect he thought that he had 
found the man he wanted, that with his assistance 
there was more than one aim at which he could arrive 
at once. He had spoken to his bride of what he 
wished. She praised him for it, and was infinitely de- 
lighted with the proposal. But it was more, perhaps, 
that she might withdraw this young man from Ottilie 
(with whom she fancied she saw that he was somewhat 
in love), than because she thought of applying his 
talents to any purpose. He had shown himself, in- 
deed, very ready to help at any of her extemporised 
festivities, and had suggested various resources for this 
thing and that. But she always thought she under- 
stood better than he what should be done ; and, as her 
inventive genius was usually somewhat common, her 
designs could be as well executed with the help of a 
clever valet de chambre as with that of the most finished 
artist. Further than to an altar on which something 
was to be offered, or to a crowning, whether of a living 
head or of one of plaster of Paris, the force of her 
imagination could not ascend, when a birthday, or 
other such occasion, made her wish to pay some one an 
especial compliment. 

Ottilie was able to give the baron the most satis- 



3^6 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



factory answer to hia inquiries as to the position the 
architect held in their family. Charlotte had already, 
as she was aware, been exerting herself to find some 
situation for him : had it not been indeed for the 
arrival of the party, the young man would have left 
them immediately on the completion of the chapel, 
the winter having brought all building operations to a 
standstill ; and it was, therefore, most fortunate if 
a new patron could be found to assist him, and to 
make use of his talents. 

Ottilia's own intercourse with the architect was as 
pure and unconscious as possibla His agreeable pres- 
ence aud his industrious nature had charmed and 
entertained her, as the presence of an elder brother 
might. Her feelings for him remained at the calm, 
unimpassioned level of blood relationship: for in her 
heart there was no room for more, — it was filled to 
overflowing with love for Edward ; only God, who 
i liter pen etratas all things, could share with him the 
possession of that heart. 

Soon they were in the depth of winter : the weather 
grew wilder, the roads more impracticable ; and there- 
fore it seemed all the pleasanter to spend the waning 
days in agreeable society. With short intervals of ebb, 
the crowd from time to time flooded up over the house. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 327 

was dead, and the new marriage was to take place as 
soon as ever decency would allow it. 

Well did Ottilie remember their first visit, and every 
word which was then uttered about marriage and sepa- 
ration, binding and dividing, hope, expectation, disap- 
pointment, renunciation. Here were these two persons, 
at that time without prospect for the future, now 
standing before her, so near their wished-for happi- 
ness; and an involuntary sigh escaped from her 
heart. 

No sooner did Luciana hear that the count was an 
amateur of music, than at once she must get up some- 
thing of a concert. She herself would sing, and 
accompany herself on the guitar. It was done. The 
instrument she did not play without skill ; her voice 
was agreeable ; as for the words, one understood about 
as little of them as one commonly does when a German 
beauty sings to the guitar. However, every one assured 
her that she had sung with exquisite expression ; and 
she found quite enough approbation to satisfy her. A 
singular misfortune befell her, however, on this occa- 
sion. Among the party there happened to be a poet, 
whom she hoped particularly to attach to herself, 
wishing to induce him to write a song or two, and 
address them to her. This evening, therefore, she pro- 
duced scarcely anything except songs of his composing. 
Like the rest of the party, he was perfectly courteous 
to her ; but she had looked for more. She spoke to 
him several times, going as near the subject as she 
dared; but nothing further could she get. At last, 
unable to bear it any longer, she sent one of her train 
to him, to sound him, and find out whether he had not 
been delighted to hear his beautiful poems so beauti- 
fully executed. 

" My poems ? " he replied with amazement. " Pray 
excuse me, my dear sir," he added : " I heard nothing 
but the vowels, and not all of those ; however, I am in 



i*a 



ELECTIVE AFF0OTIE5 



•iniT bound CO I IIMIM BIT I 

intention." Hie dandy aid nothing, and kept his 
ncret : the other endeavoured to get hiwwlf out of the 
^iraj-r bv a few weO-timed complimenta. She did doc 
conceal her desire to have Mimlliiii^ of his which 
should be written for herselL 

If it wool! doc nave been too Ql-aatnred, be 
have handed her the alphabet, to imagine for 
oral of thai, such Laudatory poem as would plranri her, 
and set it to the first melodj that came to hand ; but 
abe was not to escape out of this business without 
mortification. A short time after, she had to learn 
that the very same evening be had written to one 
"f Ottilia's favourite melodies a most lovely poem, 
whir;h. was something mote than complimentary, 

Lodaaa, like all persons of her soft, who never can 
distinguish between where they show to advantage 
and where to disadvantage, now determined to try her 
fortune in reciting. Her memory was good: but, if 
i\vi truth must be told, her execution was spiritless; 
and she. was vehement without being passionate. She 
recited ballad stories, and whatever else is usually 
delivered in declamation. At the same time she bad 
contracted an unhappy habit of accompanying what 
she recited with gestures, by which, in a disagreeable 




jMfrh.urrl^i 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 329 

it requires some labour in arrangement, has an incon- 
ceivably charming effect." 

Luciana was quick enough in perceiving that here 
she was on her own ground entirely. Her fine shape, 
her well-rounded form, the regularity and yet expres- 
siveness of her features, her light-brown braided hair, 
her long neck, — she ran them all over in her mind, 
and calculated on their pictorial effects ; and if she had 
only known that her beauty showed to more advantage 
when she was still than when she was in motion, be- 
cause in the last case certain ungracefulnesses con- 
tinually escaped her, she would have entered even 
more eagerly than she did into this natural picture- 
making. 

They brought forth some engravings of celebrated 
pictures, and the first which they chose was Van 
Dyck's " Belisarius." A large, well-proportioned man, 
somewhat advanced in years, was to represent the 
seated blind general The architect was to be the affec- 
tionate soldier standing sorrowing before him, there 
really being some resemblance between them. Luci- 
ana, half from modesty, had chosen the part of the 
young woman in the background, counting out ample 
alms into the palm of his hand ; while an old woman 
beside her is trying to prevent her, and representing 
that she is giving too much. Nor was another woman 
who is in the act of giving him something forgotten. 
Into this and other picturA they threw themselves 
with all earnestness. The count gave the architect a 
few hints as to the best style of arrangement ; and he 
at once set up a kind of theatre, all necessary pains 
being taken for the proper lighting of it. They had 
already made many preparations, before they observed 
how large an outlay what they were undertaking 
would require, and that, in the country, in the middle 
of the winter, many things which they required, would 
be difficult to procure ; consequently, to prevent a 



to° 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



stw*pjiagt\ Lu iiana had nearly her whole wardrobe cat 
in pieces, to ripply the various costumes which the 
original artist had arbitrarily selected. 

The appointed evening came; and the exhibition 
was oaniea ^ut in the presence of a large assemblage, 
and u> the universal satisfaction. They had some 
good tnusu to excite expectation, and the performance 
opened with ihe * Itelisariiis," The figures were so 
miooeafiful, the oakum were so happily distributed, aod 
the lighting managed so skilfully, that they might 
really have fancied the nisei ves in another world ; only 
that the prvsenee of the real, instead of the apparent, 
produced a kind of uncomfortable sensation- 

The curtain fell, and was more than once raised 
again by general desire, A musical interlude kept the 
assembly amused while preparation was going for- 
ward to surprise them with a picture of a higher 
stamp : it was the well-known design of Poussin, 
Ahasucrus and Esther. This time Lucia ua had done 
better for herself. As the fainting, sinking queen, she 
had put out all her charms ; and, for the attendant 
maidens who were supporting her, she had cunningly 
selected pretty, well-shaped figures, not one among 
whom, however, had the slightest pretension to be 
compared with herself. From this picture, as from 




MtfrrMTiM 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 331 

is only to be seen from behind ; but her whole bearing 
appears to signify that she is collecting herself. That 
the admonition is not too severe, that she is not being 
utterly put to shame, is to be gathered from the air 
and attitude of the father ; while the mother seems as 
if she were trying to conceal some slight embarrass- 
ment, — she is looking into a glass of wine, which she 
is on the point of drinking. 

Here was an opportunity for Luciana to appear in 
her highest splendour. Her back hair, the form of her 
head, neck, and shoulders, were beautiful beyond all 
conception; and the waist, which in the modern an- 
tique of the ordinary dresses of young ladies is hardly 
visible, showed to the greatest advantage in all its 
graceful, slender elegance in the really old costume. 
The architect had contrived to dispose the rich folds 
of the white satin with the most artistic naturalness; 
and, without any question whatever, this living imita- 
tion far exceeded the original picture, and produced 
universal delight. 

The spectators never ceased demanding a repetition 
of the performance ; and the very natural wish to see 
the countenance of so lovely a creature, when they 
had done looking at her from behind, at last became 
so decided, that a merry, impatient young wit cried 
out aloud the words one is accustomed to write at the 
bottom of a page, " Tournez, s'il vovs plait" which was 
echoed all round the room. 

The performers, however, understood their advantage 
too well, and had mastered too completely the idea of 
these works of art, to yield to the most general 
clamour. The daughter remained standing in her 
shame, without favouring the spectators with the ex- 
pression of her face ; the father retained his attitude of 
admonition ; and the mother continued with her nose 
and eyes in the transparent glass, in which, although 
she seemed to be drinking, the wine never diminished. 



11* 



EtECTlVE AFFINITIES 



\\i- mini not describe the number of smaller after- 
|.n-« i v luj * hu h had been chosen Flemish pubbc-honae 
m i n* * mi«l fair and market days. 

Tin* t'uiini ami the baroness departed, promising to 

tvluni In tbr finrt. happy weeks of their approaching 

ttuutti And rharlou* now had holies, after having 

i 'Hilmvil two w«ary mouths of it* of lidding heiself of 

i he k**4 of i he party at the same time. She was as- 

autvd uf her daughter's happiness, as soon as the first 

tumuli nf vmlh ami betrothal should have subsided in 

\w\ , fof iiu* bridegroom considered himself the most 

fortunate jvr*on in the vcorlci His income was large, 

hi* ilt*v)toMiio» moderate and rational; and now he 

ft*itul ium**U further wonderfully favoured in the 

hjippuif*> »i Uvonnn£ the possessor of a young lady 

with whom id I the world must be charmed. He had 

*o |hv wlmi a wax of referring everything to her, and 

■*iil> u* himmdf through her; that it gave him an un- 

pluutAtil bvling wh«n any newly arrived person did 

not di votr lmu**H hoart and soul to her, and was far 

ftvtii fluttered if — as occasionally happened, paitacu- 

Mrtj KVH.h elderly man — he neglected her for a close 

\ ftrth hmiaclt Everything was settled about 

I he f*tvhitev< On New-Years I*ay he was to follow 

>pend ilka carnival at his house in the city, 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 333 

by Luciana's charms, to which he had been so long 
devoting himself, cried out unthinkingly, "Why not 
manage, then, in the Polish fashion ? you come now and 
eat up me, and then we will go on round the circle." 
No sooner said than done. Luciana acceded. The next 
day they all packed up, and the swarm alighted on a 
new property. There indeed they found room enough, 
but few conveniences, and no preparations to receive 
them. Out of this arose many contretemps, which en- 
tirely enchanted Luciana : their lif e became ever wilder 
and wilder. Hunting-parties were set on foot in the 
deep snow, attended with every sort of disagreeable- 
ness ; women were not allowed to excuse themselves 
any more than men : and so they trooped on, hunting 
and riding, sleighing and shouting, from one place to 
another, till at last they approached the Residence; 
and there the news of the day, and the scandals, and 
what else forms the amusement of people at courts 
and cities, gave the imagination another direction: 
and Luciana with her train of attendants (her aunt 
had gone on some time before) swept at once into a 
new sphere of life. 

FROM OTTILIE'S DIARY. 

" In the world we accept every person as such as he 
gives himself out, only he must give himself out for 
something. We can put up with the unpleasant more 
easily than we can endure the insignificant. 

" Anything may be forced upon society except what 
involves a consequence. 

" We never learn to know people when they come 
to us: we must go to them to find out how things ;\ 
stand with them. 

" I find it almost natural that we should see many 
faults in visitors, and that directly they are gone we 
should judge them not in the most amiable manner. 



334 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



For we have, so to say, a right to measure them by 
our own standard. Even cautious, sensible men can 
scarcely keep themselves in such eases from being 
sharp censors. 

a When, on the contrary, we are staying at the 
houses of other*, when we hare seen them in the 
midst of all their habits and environments among 
those necessary conditions from which they cannot 
escape, when we have seen how they affect those about 
them, and how they adapt themselves to their circum- 
stances, it is ignorance, it is worse, it is ill-will, to find 
ridiculous what in more than one sense has a claim on 
our respect. 

u That which we call politeness and good breeding 
effects what otherwise can only be obtained by vio- 
lence, or not even by that, 

u Intercourse with women is the element of good 
manners, 

" How can the character, the individuality, of a man 
coexist with p>lish of manner ? 

K Peculiarity of character can only be property made 
prominent through good manners. Every one likes 
what has something in it, only it must not be a dis- 
agreeahle something. 

u Tn life generally, and in society, no one has such 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 335 

when a person is rocking his chair. She cannot en- 
dure it. 

" No one would ever come into a mixed party with 
spectacles on his nose, if he did but know that at once 
we women lose all pleasure in looking at him or listen- 
ing to what he has to say. 

" Familiarity, when displayed instead of reverency, is 
always ridiculous. No one would put his hat down 
when he had scarcely paid the ordinary compliments 
if he knew how comical it looka 

" There is no outward sign of courtesy that does not 
rest on a deep moral foundation. The proper education 
would be that which communicated the sign and the 
foundation of it at the same time. 

" Behaviour is a mirror in which every one displays 
his own image. 

"There is a courtesy of the heart. It is akin to 
love. Out of it arises the easiest courtesy in outward 
behaviour. 

" A freely offered homage is the most beautiful of all 
relations. And how were that possible without love ? 

" We are never farther from our wishes than when 
we imagine that we possess what we have desired. 

" No one is more a slave than the man who thinks 
himself free while he is not. 

" The moment a man declares he is free, he feels the 
conditions to which he is subject. Let him venture to 
declare that he is subject to conditions, and he will feel 
that he is free. 

" Against great advantages in another, there are no 
means of defending ourselves except love. 

" There is something terrible in the sight of a highly 
gifted man lying under obligations to a fool. 

" ' No man is a hero to his valet/ the proverb says. 
But that is only because it requires a hero to recognise 
a hero. The valet will probably know how to value 
the valet-hero. 



33 6 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



" Mediocrity has 110 greater consolation than in the 
thought that genius is not im mortal, 

" The greatest men are connected with their own 
century always through some weakness. 

* One is apt to regard people as more dangerous than 
they are. 

" Fools and modest people are alike innocuous. It 
is only your half-fools and your half-wise who are 
really and truly dangerous. 

"There is no hetter deliverance from the world than 
through art ; and a man can form no surer bond with 
it than through art. 

" Alike in the moment of our highest fortune and 
our deepest necessity, we require the artist. 

" The business of art is with the difficult and the 
good* 

" To see the difficult easily handled, gives us the feel- 
ing of the impossible. 

w Difficulties increase the nearer we are to our end. 

M Sowing is not so difficult as reaping " 




CHAPTER VI. 

Charlotte was in some way compensated for the 
very serious discomfort this visit had caused her 
through the fuller insight it had enabled her to gain 
into her daughter's character. In this, her knowledge 
of the world was of no slight service to her. It was not 
the first time that so singular a character had come 
across her, although she had never seen any in which 
the unusual features were so highly developed ; and she 
had had experience enough to show her that such per- 
sons, after having felt the discipline of life, after having 
gone through something of it and been in intercourse 
with older people, may come out at last really charm- 
ing and amiable : the selfishness may soften, and eager, 
restless activity find a definite direction for itself. And 
therefore, as a mother, Charlotte was able to endure 
the appearance of symptoms which for others might 
perhaps have been unpleasing, from a sense that where 
strangers only desire to enjoy, or at least not to have 
their taste offended, the business of parents is rather to 
hope. 

After her daughter's departure, however, she had to 
be pained in a singular and unlooked-for manner, in 
finding that, not so much through what there really 
was objectionable in her behaviour, as through what 
was good and praiseworthy in it, she had left an ill 
report of herself behind her. Luciana seemed to have 
prescribed it as a rule to herself, not only to be merry 
with the merry, but miserable with the miserable, and, 
in order to give full exercise to her spirit of contradic- 
tion, often to make the happy uncomfortable, and the 

337 



338 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

sad cheerful In every family among whom she came, 
she inquired after such members of it as were ill or in- 
firm, and unable to appear in society. She would go 
to see them in their rooms, act the part of physician, 
and insist on prescribing powerful doses for them out 
of her own travelling medicine-chest, which she con- 
stantly took with her in her carriage ; her attempts at 
curing, as may be supposed, either succeeding or failing 
as chance happened to direct. 

In this sort of benevolence she was thoroughly cruel, 
and would listen to nothing that was said to her, be- 
cause she was convinced that she was managing admi- 
rably. One such attempt, made on a mental sufferer, 
k failed most disastrously; and this it was which gave 
Charlotte so much trouble, inasmuch as it involved 
consequences, and every one was talking about it. She 
never had heard of the story till Luciana was gone: 
Ottilie, who had made one of the party present at the 
time, had to give her a circumstantial account of it. 

One of several daughters of a family of rank had the 
misfortune to have caused the death of one of her 
younger sisters: it had destroyed her peace of mind, 
and she had never been able to recover from the shock. 
She lived in her own room, occupying herself, and 
keeping quiet ; and she could only bear to see the 
members of her own family when they came one by one. 
If there were several together, she suspected at once 
that they were making reflections upon her and her 
condition. To each of them singly she would speak 
rationally enough, and talk freely for an hour at a 
time. 

Luciana had heard of this, and had secretly deter- 
mined with herself, as soon as she got into the house, 
that she would, as it were, work a miracle, and restore 
the young lady to society. She conducted herself in 
the matter more prudently than usual, managed to 
introduce herself alone to the poor, sick-souled girl, 



S 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 339 

and, as far as people could understand, had wound her 
way into her confidence through music. At last came 
her fatal mistake: wishing to cause a sensation, and 
fancying she had sufficiently prepared her for it, one 
evening she suddenly introduced the beautiful, pale 
creature into the midst of the brilliant, glittering assem- 
bly; and perhaps even then the attempt might not 
have so utterly failed, had not the company, from 
curiosity and apprehension, conducted themselves so 
unwisely, first gathering about the invalid, and avoiding 
her, and, with their whispers, and shaking their heads 
together, confusing and agitating her. Her delicate 
sensibility could not endure it. With a dreadful shriek, 
which expressed, as it seemed, a horror at some mon- 
ster that was rushing upon her, she fainted. The 
crowd fell back in terror on every side, Ottilie being 
one of those who brought the fainting girl to her room. 

Luciana meanwhile, just like herself, had been read- 
ing an angry lecture to the rest of the party, without 
reflecting for a moment that she herself was entirely 
to blame, and without letting herself be deterred, by 
this and other failures, from going on with her experi- 
mentalising. 

The state of the invalid herself had since that time 
become more and more serious: indeed, the disorder 
had increased to such a degree that the parents were 
unable to keep their poor child any longer at home, 
and had been forced to confide her to the care of a 
public institution. Nothing remained for Charlotte 
except, by the delicacy of her own attention to the 
family, in some degree to alleviate the pain which had 
been occasioned by her daughter. On Ottilie the event 
had made a deep impression. She felt the more for 
the unhappy girl, as she was convinced, not withhold- 
ing her opinion from Charlotte, that, by a careful treat- 
ment, the disorder might have been unquestionably 
removed. 



34° 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



So there came, too, as it often happens that we dwell 
Tiiore on past disagreeables than on past agreeables, a 
slight misuuderstaoding to be spoken of, which had led 
Ottilie to a wrong judgment of the architect, when he 
did not choose to produce his collection that evening, 
although she had so eagerly begged him to produce it 
This decided refusal had remained, ever since, hanging 
about her heart : she herself could not tell why. Her 
feelings about the matter were undoubtedly just : what 
a young lady like Ottilie could desire, a young man like 
the architect ought not to have refused. The latter* 
however, when she took occasion to give htm a gentle 
reproof for it, had a pretty good plea to offer. 

" If you knew," he said, " how roughly even cuJti- 
vated people allow themselves to handle the most 
valuable works of art, you would forgive me for not 
producing mine among the crowd. No one will take 
the trouble to hold a medal by the rim. They will 
finger the most beautiful impressions and the smoothest 
surfaces : they will take the rarest coins between the 
thumb and forefinger, and rub them up and down, as if 
they wore testing the execution with the tench. With- 
out re me inhering that a large sheet of paper ought to 
be held in two hands, they will lay hold with one of 
an invaluable engraving of some irretrievable drawing 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 341 

"In any case," replied Ottilie, "it would not be a 
bad plan, if, in the next edition of the book on good 
manners, after the chapters which tell us how we 
ought to eat and drink in company, an exhaustive 
chapter were inserted, how to behave among works 
of art and in museums." 

" Undoubtedly," said the architect ; " and then curi- 
osity-collectors and amateurs would be better contented 
to show their valuable treasures to the world." 

Ottilie had long, long forgiven him; but as he 
seemed to have taken her reproof sorely to heart, and 
assured her again and again that he would gladly pro- 
duce everything, that he was delighted to do anything 
for his friends, she felt that she had wounded his feel- 
ings, and that she owed him some compensation. It 
was not easy for her, therefore, to give an absolute refusal 
to a request which he made her in the conclusion of 
this conversation ; although, when she called her heart 
into council about it, she did not see how she could 
allow herself to do what he wished. 

The circumstances of the matter were these: that 
Ottilie had been excluded from the picture-exhibition 
through Luciana's jealousy had irritated him in the 
highest degree ; and at the same time he had observed 
with regret that Charlotte had been prevented by 
sickness from being often present at this, the most 
brilliant part of all the amusements ; and now he did 
not wish to go away without some additional proof of 
his gratitude, and, for the honour of one and the 
entertainment of the other, preparing a far more beauti- 
ful exhibition than any of those which had preceded 
it. Perhaps, too, unknown to himself, another secret 
motive was working on him. It was so hard for him 
to leave the house and to leave the family. It seemed 
impossible to him to part from Ottilie's eyes, under the 
calm, sweet, gentle glances of which he had, the latter 
part of the time, been living almost entirely. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 343 

the reality, as representing the picture, had its especial 
advantages. The whole space was the colour rather 
of night than of twilight ; and there was nothing, even 
of the details of the scene, which was obscure. The 
inimitable idea that all the light should proceed from 
the child, the artist had contrived to carry out by an 
ingenious method of illumination, which was concealed 
by the figures in the foreground, who were all in shadow. 
Merry boys and girls were standing round, their rosy 
faces sharply lighted from below; and there were 
angels, too, whose own brilliancy grew pale before the 
divine, whose ethereal bodies showed dim and dense, 
and needing other light in the presence of the body of 
the divine humanity. By good fortune the infant had 
fallen asleep in the loveliest attitude ; so that nothing 
disturbed the contemplation when the eye rested on 
the seeming mother, who with infinite grace had lifted 
off a veil to reveal her hidden treasure. At this mo- 
ment the picture seemed to have been caught, and 
there to have remained fixed. Physically dazzled, 
mentally surprised, the people round appeared to have 
just moved to turn away their half-blinded eyes, to be 
glancing again toward the child with curious delight, 
and to be showing more wonder and pleasure than 
awe and reverence, — although these emotions were 
not forgotten, and were to be traced upon the features 
of some of the older spectators. 

But Ottilie's figure, expression, attitude, glance, ex- 
celled all that any painter has ever represented. A 
man possessed of true knowledge of art, could he have 
seen this spectacle, would have been in fear lest any 
portion of it should move: he would have doubted 
whether anything could ever so much please him again. 
Unluckily there was no one present who could com- 
prehend the whole of this effect. The architect alone, 
who, as a tall, slender shepherd, was looking in from 
the side over those who were kneeling, enjoyed, al- 



341 



ELECTIVE AFFUflTtES 



though be was not in the bat position for seeing, the 
fullest pleasure. And who can describe the mien of 
the new-made queen of heaven f The pares* humility, 
the mtj&L exquisite feeling of modesty, while having 
aodesercexUT bestowed upon her a great honour, an 
indescribable and immeasurable happiness was dis- 
played upon her features, expressing as much her own 
emotion as that of the character which she was en- 
dea venting to represent. 

Charlotte was delighted with the beautiful figures* 
bat what had most effect on her was the child. Her 
eye* filled with tears; and her imagination presented 
to her, in the liveliest colours, that she might soon 
ho f*; to have such another darling creature on her 
own lap. 

They had let down the curtain, portly to give the 
exhibitors some little rest, partly to make an alteration 
in the exhibition. The artist had proposed to himself 
to transmute the first scene of night and lowliness 
into a picture of splendour and glory, and for this 
purpose ha. J prepared a blaze of light to fall in from 
every side, which this interval was required to kindle. 

Qttilie, in the semi -theatrical position in which she 
found her&lf, had hitherto felt perfectly at her ease; 
because, with the exception of Charlotte and a few 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 345 

the colours left remaining, which, from the skill with 
which they had been selected, produced a gentle soft- 
ening of tone. Looking out under her long eyelashes, 
Ottilie perceived the figure of a man sitting by Char- 
lotte. She did not recognise him, but the voice she 
fancied was that of the assistant at the school. A 
singular emotion came over her. How many things 
had happened since she last heard the voice of her 
kind instructor ! like forked lightning the stream of 
her joys and her sorrow flashed through her soul ; and 
the question rose in her heart, " Dare you confess, dare 
you acknowledge, it all to him ? If not, how little 
can you deserve to appear before him under this sainted 
form ! And how strange must it not seem to him, 
who has only known you as your natural self, to see 
you now under this disguise !" In an instant, swift 
as thought, feeling and reflection began to clash and 
gain within her. Her eyes filled with tears, while she 
forced herself to continue to appear as a rigid figure ; 
and it was a relief indeed to her when the child began 
to stir, and the artist saw himself compelled to give 
the sign for the curtain to fall again. 

If the painful feeling of being unable to meet a 
valued friend had, during the last few moments, been 
distressing Ottilie, in addition to her other emotions, 
she was now in still greater embarrassment. Was she 
to present herself to him in this strange disguise, 
or had she better change her dress? She did not 
hesitate: she did the latter, and in the interval she 
endeavoured to collect and to compose herself ; nor did 
she properly recover her self-possession, until at last, 
in her ordinary costume, she had welcomed the new 
visitor. 



CHAPTER VIL 



Ik so far as the architect desired the happiness of 
his kind patronesses, it was a pleasure to him, now 
that at last he was obliged to go, to know that he 
was leaving them in good society with the estimable 
assistant. At the same time, however, when he 
thought of their goodness in its relation to himself, 
he could not help feeliag it a little painful to see his 
place so soon, and, as it seemed to his modesty, so 
well, so completely, supplied. He had lingered and 
lingered, but now he forced himself away : what, after 
he was ^one, he must endure as he could, at least he 
could not stay to witness with his own eyes* 

To the great relief of this half- melancholy feeling, 
the ladies at his departure made him a preseub of a 
waistcoat, on which he had watched them both for 
some time past at work, with a silent envy of the 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



347 



which nothing in the world can divorce them. In 
outward social intercourse, on the other hand, they 
will gladly and easily allow themselves to take their 
tone from the person with whom at the moment they 
are occupied ; and thus, by a mixture of impassiveness 
and susceptibility, by persisting and by yielding, they 
continue to keep the government to themselves : and 
no man of good behaviour can ever take it from them. 

The architect, following at the same time his own 
fancy and his own inclination, had been exerting him- 
self and putting out his talents for their gratification 
and for the purposes of his friends ; and business and 
amusement, while he was with them, had been con- 
ducted in this spirit, and directed to the ends which 
most suited his taste. But now in a short time, through 
the presence of the assistant, quite another sort of life 
was commenced. His great gift was to talk well, and 
to treat, in his conversation, of men and human rela- 
tions, particularly in reference to the cultivation of 
young people. Thus arose a very perceptible contrast 
to the life which had been going on hitherto, all the 
more as the assistant could not entirely approve of 
their having interested themselves in such subjects so 
exclusively. 

Of the impersonated picture which received him on 
his arrival, he never said a single word. On the other 
hand, when they took him to see the church and the 
chapel with their new decorations, expecting that it 
would please him as much as they were pleased with 
it themselves, he did not refrain from expressing his 
opinion. 

" This mixing up of the holy with the sensuous," he 
said, " is anything but pleasing to my taste : I cannot 
like men to set apart certain especial places, consecrate 
them, and deck them out, that by so doing they may 
nourish in themselves a temper of piety. No surround- 
ings, not even the most common, must disturb in us 



34S 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



that sense of the divine which accompanies us where- 
ever we are, and can consecrate every spot into a 
temple. What pleases me is, to see a home service of 
Gixl held in the saloon where people come together to 
eat, where they have their parties, and amuse them- 
selves with games and dances. What is highest, the 
most excellent in men, has no form ; and one shonld 
be cautions how one gives it any form except noble 
action/' 

Charlotte, who was already generally acquainted 
with his mode of thinking, and, in the short time he 
had been at the castle, had already probed it more 
deeply, found something also which he might do for 
hi?r in his own department ; and she had her garden 
children, whom the architect had reviewed shortly 
be tore his departure, marshalled up into the great 
saloon. Tn their clean, bright uniforms, with their 
regular movement, and their own natural vivacity, they 
looked exceedingly well The assistant examined them 
in his owd way, and by a variety of questions, and by 
the turns he gave them, soon brought to light the 
capacities and dispositions of the children j and, with- 
out it seeming so, in the space of less than one hour 
he had really given them important instruction and 
assistance. 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 349 

idea, whatever yon like, keep fast hold of it, make 
yourself thoroughly acquainted with it in all its parts ; 
and then it will be easy for you, in conversation, to 
find out, with a mass of children, how much about it 
has already developed itself in them; what requires 
to be stimulated, what to be directly communicated. 
The answers to your questions may be as unsatisfac- 
tory as they will, they may wander wide of the mark : 
if you only take care that your counter-question shall 
draw their thoughts and senses inward again, if you do 
not allow yourself to be driven from your own position, 
the children will at last reflect, comprehend, learn only 
what the teacher desires them to learn ; and the sub- 
ject will be presented to them in the light in which he 
wishes them to see it. The greatest mistake which 
he can make is, to allow himself to be run away with 
from the subject, not to know how to keep fast to the 
point with which he is engaged. Try it the next time 
the children come : you will find you will be greatly 
entertained by it yourself." 

"That is very pretty," said Charlotte. "The right 
method of teaching is the reverse, I see, of what we 
must do in life. In society we must keep the attention 
long upon nothing; and in instruction the first com- 
mandment is, to permit no dissipation of it." 

"Variety, without dissipation, were the best motto 
for both teaching and life, if it were easy to preserve 
this desirable equipoise," said the assistant; and he 
was going on farther with the subject, when Charlotte 
desired him to look again at the children, whose merry 
band was at the moment moving across the court. 
He expressed his satisfaction at seeing them wearing a 
uniform. "Men," he said, "should wear a uniform 
from their childhood upward. They have to accustom 
themselves to work together ; to lose themselves among 
their equals ; to obey in masses, and to work on a large 
scale. Every kind of uniform, moreover, generates a 



35° 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



military habit of thought, and a smart, straightforward 
carriage. All boys are bom soldiers, whatever you do 
with them You have only to watch them at their 

mock fights and games, their storming - parties and 
scaling- parties. 1 * 

w On the other hand, you will not blame me," re- 
plied Ottilie, fi if I do not insist with my girls on such 
uuity of costume. When I introduce them to you, I 
hope to gratify you by a party-coloured mixture," 

" I approve of that entirely/' replied the other. 
" Women should go about in every sort of variety of 
dress ; each following her own style and her own lik- 
ings, that each may learn to feel what sits well upon 
her, and becomes her. And for a more weighty reason 
as wflMi — because it is appointed for them to stand 
alone all thein lives, and work alone," 

u That seems to me to be a paradox/ 1 answered 
Charlotte, "Are we, then, to be never anything for 
ourselves \ " 

"■Oh, yes!" replied the assistant *In respect of 
Other women assuredly. But observe a young lady as 
a lover, as a bride, as a housewife, as a mother. She 
always stands isolated. She is always alone, and will 
be alone. Even the most empty-headed woman is in 
the same case* Each one of them excludes all others. 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 351 

as. Indeed, you must not take it ill of us, if in future 
we come to feel a little malicious satisfaction when our 
lords and masters do not get on in the very best way 
together." 

With much care, this wise, sensible person went on 
to examine more closely how Ottilie proceeded with 
her little pupils, and expressed his decided approba- 
tion of it. " You are quite right," he said, " in direct- 
ing these children only to what they can immediately 
and usefully put in practice. Cleanliness, for instance, 
will accustom them to wear their clothes with pleasure 
to themselves ; and everything is gained if they can be 
induced to enter into what they do with cheerfulness 
and self-reflection." 

In other ways he found, to his great satisfaction, 
that nothing had been done for outward display, but 
all was inward, and designed to supply what was in- 
dispensably necessary. " In how few words," he cried, 
" might the whole business of education be summed 
up, if people had but ears to hear ! " 

"Will you try whether I have?" said Ottilie, 
smiling. 

" Indeed I will," answered he, " only you must not 
betray me. Educate the boys to be servants, and the 
girls to be mothers ; and everything is as it should be." 

" To be mothers ? " replied Ottilie. " Women would 
scarcely think that sufficient. They have to look 
forward, without being mothers, to going out into 
service. And, indeed, our young men think themselves 
a great deal too good for servants. One can see easily 
in every one of them that he holds himself more fit to 
be a master." 

" And for that reason we should say nothing about 
it to them," said the assistant. "We insinuate our- 
selves into life, but life is not insinuating to us. How 
many men would like to acknowledge at the outset 
what at the end they must acknowledge whether they 



ZS 2 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



like it or not ? But let us leave these considerations, 
which do not concern us here. 

" I consider you very fortunate in having beeu able 
to go so methodically to work with your pupils. If 
your youngest girls run about with their dolls, and 
stitch together a few petticoats for them ; if the elder 
sisters will then take care of the younger* and the 
whole household know how to supply its own wants, 
and one member of it help the others, — the further 
step iuto life will not then be great ; and such a girl will 
find in her husband what she has lost in her parents. 

" But, among the higher ranks, the problem is a 
sorely iutricate one. We have to provide for higher, 
finer, more delicate relations, especially for such as 
arise out of society. We are, therefore, obliged to give 
our pupils an outward cultivation. It is indispensable, 
it is necessary ; and it may be really valuable, if we 
keep within bounds. Only it is so easy, while one is 
proposing to cultivate the children for a wider circle, to 
drive them out into the indefinite, without keeping 
before our eyes the real requisites of the inner nature. 
Here lies the problem which is more or less solved by 
some educators, others failing to do so, 

+l Many thiugs, with which we furnish our scholars 
at the school, do not please me ; because experience 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 353 

myself, in this sense is their education completed. 
Another education there is indeed which will again 
speedily recommence, and work on well-nigh through 
all the years of our life, — the education which cir- 
cumstances will give us, if we do not give it to 
ourselves." 

" How true are these words ! " thought Ottilie. What 
a great deal of passion, little dreamed of before, had 
done to educate her in the past year ! What trials she 
saw hover before her if she looked forward only to 
what the immediate future had in store for her ! 

It was not without a purpose that the young man 
had spoken of a helpmate, — of a wife ; for, with all 
his diffidence, he could not refrain from thus remotely 
hinting at his own wishes. A number of circum- 
stances and accidents, indeed, combined to induce him 
on this visit to approach a few steps toward his aim. 

The lady superior of the school was advanced in 
years. She had been already for some time looking 
about among her fellow labourers, male and female, for 
some person whom she could take into partnership 
with herself, and at last had made proposals to the 
assistant, in whom she had the highest ground for 
feeling confidence. He was to conduct the business of 
the school with herself. He was to work, together 
with her, as if it were his own, and after her death, as 
her heir, to enter upon it as sole proprietor. 

The principal thing now seemed to be, that he should 
find a wife who would cooperate with him. Ottilie 
was secretly before his eyes and before his heart. A 
number of difficulties suggested themselves, and yet 
there were favourable circumstances on the other side 
to counterbalance them. Luciana had left the school : 
Ottilie could therefore return with the less difficulty. 
Of the relation in which she stood to Edward, some 
little had transpired. It passed, however, as many 
such things do, as a matter of indifference ; and this 



354 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

very circumstance might make it desirable that she 
should leave the castle. And yet, perhaps, no decision 
would have been arrived at, no step would have been 
taken, had not an unexpected visit given a special 
impulse to his hesitation. The presence, in any and 
every circle, of people of mark, can never be without 
its effects. 

The count and the baroness, who often found them- 
selves asked for their opinion — almost every one being 
in difficulty about the education of their children — as 
to the value of the various schools, had found it desir- 
able to make themselves particularly acquainted with 
this one, which was generally so well spoken of ; and, 
under their present circumstances, they were more 
easily able to carry on these inquiries in company. 

The baroness, however, had something else in view 
as well. While she was last at the castle, she had 
talked over with Charlotte the whole affair of Edward 
and Ottilia She had insisted again and again that 
Ottilie must be sent away. She tried every means to 
encourage Charlotte to do it, and to keep her from 
being frightened by Edward's threats. Several modes 
of escape from the difficulty were suggested. Acciden- 
tally the school was mentioned, and the assistant and 
his incipient passion, which made the baroness more 
resolved than ever to pay her intended visit there. 

She went: she made acquaintances with the assist- 
ant, looked over the establishment, and spoke of 
Ottilie. The count also spoke with much interest 
of her, having in his recent visit learned to know her 
better. She had approached him : indeed, she had felt 
attracted by him, believing that she could see, that she 
could perceive, in his solid, substantial conversation, 
something to which hitherto she had been an entire 
stranger. In her intercourse with Edward, the world 
had been utterly forgotten : in the presence of the 
count, the world appeared first worth regarding. The 



\ 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 355 

attraction was mutual. The count conceived a liking 
for Ottilie : he would have been glad to have had her 
for a daughter. Thus, a second time, and worse than 
the first time, she was in the way of the baroness. 
Who knows what, in times when passions ran hotter 
than they do nowadays, this lady might not have 
devised against her ? Now she would have been satis- 
fied if she could get her married, and render her more 
innocuous for the future to the peace of mind of mar- 
ried women. She therefore artfully urged the assist- 
ant, in a delicate, but effective manner, to set out on 
a little excursion to the castle, where his plans and his 
wishes, of which he made no secret to the lady, he 
might forthwith take steps to realise. 

With the fullest consent of the superior he started 
off on his expedition, and in his heart he cherished 
much hopes of success. He knew that Ottilie was not 
ill-disposed toward him ; and although it was true there 
was some disproportion of rank between them, yet dis- 
tinctions of this kind were fast disappearing in the 
temper of the time. Moreover, the baroness had made 
him perceive clearly that Ottilie must always remain 
a poor, portionless maiden. To be related to a wealthy 
family, it was said, could be of service to nobody. For, 
even with the largest property, men have a feeling 
that it is not right to deprive of any considerable sum 
those who, as standing in a nearer degree of relation- 
ship, appear to have a fuller right to possession ; and 
really it is a strange thing, that the immense privilege 
which a man has of disposing of his property after his 
death, he so very seldom uses for the benefit of those 
whom he loves, out of regard to established usage only 
appearing to consider those who would inherit his 
estate from him supposing he made no will at all. 

Thus, while on his journey, he began to feel himself 
entirely on a level with Ottilie. A favourable recep- 
tion raised his hopes. He found Ottilie indeed not 



35* 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



altogether so open with him as usual ; but she was 
considerably matured, more developed, and, if you 
please, generally more conversable than he had known 
her. She was ready to give him the fullest insight 
into many things in any way connected with his pro- 
fession ; but, when he attempted to approach his aim, 
a certain inward shyness always held him back. 

Once, however, Charlotte gave him an opportunity 
for saying something. In Ottilie's presence she said 
to him, w Well, now, you have looked closely enough 
into everything which is going forward in my circle. 
How do you find Ottilie ? you had better say while she 
is here." 

Hereupon the assistant signified, with a clear percep- 
tion and composed expression, that, in respect of a 
freer carriage, of an easier manner in speaking, of 
a higher insight into the things of the world, which 
showed itself more iu actions than in words, he found 
Ottilie much improved ; but that he still believed it 
mi^ht be of serious advantage to her if she would 
go back for some little time to the school, in order 
methodically and thoroughly to make her own for 
ever what the world was only imparting to her in 
fragments and pieces, rather perplexing her than satis- 
fying her, and often too late to be of service. He did 















ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 357 

tiously. She said that she herself, as well as Ottilie, 
had long desired her return to the school At that 
time, however, the presence of so dear a companion 
and helper had become indispensable to herself; still 
she would offer no obstacle at some future period, if 
Ottilie continued to wish it, to her going back there 
for such a time as would enable her to complete what 
she had begun, and to make entirely her own what had 
been interrupted. 

The assistant listened with delight to this qualified 
assent. Ottilie did not venture to object, although the 
very thought made her shudder. Charlotte, on her 
hand, only thought of gaining time. She hoped that 
Edward would soon come back and find himself a 
happy father; then she was convinced all would go 
right, and one way or another they would be able 
to settle something for Ottilie. 

After an important conversation furnishing matter 
for reflection to all who have taken part in it, there 
commonly follows a sort of pause, which in appearance 
is like a general embarrassment. They walked up and 
down in the room. The assistant turned over the 
leaves of various books, and came at last on the folio 
of engravings which had remained lying there since 
Luciana's time. As soon as he saw that it contained 
nothing but apes, he shut it up again. 

It may have been this, however, which gave occa- 
sion to a conversation of which we find traces in 
Ottilie's diary. 

FROM OTTILIE'S DIARY. 

" It is strange how men can have the heart to take 
such pains with the pictures of those hideous monkeys. 
One lowers one's self sufficiently when one looks at 
them merely as animals, but it is really wicked to give 
way to the inclination to look for people whom we 
know behind such masks." 



353 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



-It is a sure mark of a certain perverseoess to 
take pleasure in caricatures and monstrous faces and 
pygmies, I have to thank our kind assistant that I 
have never been tormented with natural history : 
I could never make myself at home with worms and 
beetles." 



" Just now he acknowledged to me, that it was the 
same with hi in, ' Of nature/ he said, 'we ought to 
know nothing except what is actually alive immedi- 
ately around us. With the trees which blossom and 
put out leaves and bear fruit in our own neighbour- 
hood, with every shrub we pass by, with every blade 
of grass on which we tread, we stand in a real rela- 
tion, They are our genuine compatriots, The birds 
which hop up and down among our branches, which 
sin<* among our leaves, belong to us : they speak to 
us from our childhood upwards, and we learn to under- 
stand their language. But let a man ask himself 
whether or not every strange creature, torn out of its 
natural environment, does not at first sight make a 
sort of painful impression upon him, which is only 
deadened by custom. It is a mark of a motley, dissi- 
pated sort of life, to be able to endure monkeys and 
parrots and black people about one's self/ " 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 359 

the strange, wonderful things they have seen together 
with their own locality, each in its own especial ele- 
ment. How I should enjoy once hearing Humboldt 
talk!" 

" A cabinet of natural curiosities we may regard like 
an Egyptian burying-place, where the various plant- 
gods and animal-gods stand about embalmed. It may 
be well enough for a priest caste to busy itself with 
such things in a twilight of mystery: but, in general 
instruction, they have no place or business; and we 
must beware of them all the more, because what is 
nearer to us, and more valuable, may be so easily 
thrust aside by them." 

"A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single 
good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes 
more than he who fills our memory with rows on 
rows of natural objects, classified with name and form. 
For what is the result of all these, except what we 
know as well without them, that the human form 
preeminently and solely is made in the image and 
likeness of God?" 

" Individuals may be left to occupy themselves with 
whatever amuses them, with whatever gives them 
pleasure, whatever they think useful; but the proper 
study of mankind is man." 



CHAPTER VTJL 



There are bat few men who care to occupy them- 
selves with the immediate past. Either we are forcibly 
bound up in the present, or we lose ourselves in the 
long gone by, and seek back for what Is utterly lost, 
a^ if it were possible to summon it up again, and re- 
habilitate it. Even in great and wealthy families who 
are under many obligations to their ancestors, we com- 
monly find men remembering their grandfathers more 
than their fathers. 

Such re flections as these suggested themselves to 
our assistant* as, on one of those beautiful days in 
whirh the departing winter is accustomed to imitate 
th*- spring, he had been walking up and down the 
great old castle garden, and admiring the tall avenues 
of the lindens, and the formal walks and flower-beds 
which bail been laid out by Edward's father. The 
trees had thriven admirably, according to the design 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 361 

closely, our actions are no more than the plans and 
the desires of the time which we are compelled to 
carry on," 

" No doubt," said the assistant. " And who is strong 
enough to withstand the stream of what is round 
him ? Time passes on, carrying away with it opinions, 
thoughts, prejudices, and interests. If the youth of 
the son falls in the era of revolution, we may feel 
assured that he will have nothing in common with 
his father. If the father lived at a time when the 
desire was to accumulate property, to secure the pos- 
session of it, to narrow and to gather one's self in, 
and to base one's enjoyment in separation from the 
world, the son will at once seek to extend his sphere, 
to communicate himself to others, to spread himself 
over a wide surface, and open out his closed stores." 

"Entire periods," replied Charlotte, "resemble this 
father and son whom you have been describing. Of 
the state of things when every little town was obliged 
to have its walls and moats, when the castle of the 
nobleman was built in a swamp, and the smallest 
manor-houses were only accessible by a drawbridge, 
we are scarcely able to form a conception. In our 
days, large cities take down their walls; the moats 
of the princes' castles are filled in ; cities are nothing 
else than large hamlets; and, when one travels and 
sees all this, he might fancy that universal peace has 
. been established, and that the golden age was at hand. 
No one feels himself easy in a garden which does not 
look like the open country. There must be nothing 
to remind him of form and constraint : we choose to be 
entirely free, and to draw a breath without sense of 
confinement. Do you conceive it possible, my friend, 
that we can ever return again out of this into another, 
into our former, condition ? " 

"Why not?" replied the assistant. "Every condi- 
tion has its burden, the most relaxed as well as the 



\hi 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



BMC couferainad The former presupposes abundance, 
and tearf# to extravagance. Let want reappear, and 
the spirit of moderation is at onoe with us again. Men 
who 4 re obliged to make use of their space and their 
tunJ, wdl -speedily enough raise walls up round their 
curderis to l*} mire of their crops and plants. Out of 
this will arise by degrees a new phase of things: the 
useful will again gain the upper hand, and even 
thtf man of lar^e possessions will feel at last that he 
mint make the most of all that belongs to him. 
ItoUeve nie, it is quite possible that your son may 
btveme ind liferent to all which you have been doing 
m the park, and draw iu again behind the solemn 
wail* and the tall lindens of his grandfather." 

The **vrel pleasure it gave Charlotte to have a son 
fore-told to h&f, made her forgive the assistant his 
Homewlmt unfriendly prophecy as to how her lovely, 
beautiful jwrk might one day fare. She therefore an- 
>twered without any di scorn posu re, "You and I are not 
oU enough yet to have lived through very much of 

these i (radietions; aud yet when I recall my early 

youth, when 1 remeiulwr the complaints I used to hear 
from older jwple, and when I think at the same time 
of what the country and the town then were* I have 
ilhiiu; lo advance against what you say. But 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 363 

and allow him the same innocent liberty which he 
allows to himself. One form of activity may be woven 
into another, but it cannot be pieced on to it. A 
young shoot may be readily and easily grafted with 
an old stem, to which no grown branch admits of 
being fastened." 

The assistant was glad to have had the opportunity, 
at the moment when he saw himself obliged to take 
his leave, of having said something agreeable to Char- 
lotte, and thus secure her favour afresh. He had been 
already too long absent from home ; and yet he could 
not make up his mind to return there, until after a full 
conviction that he must allow the approaching epoch 
of Charlotte's confinement first to pass by, before he 
could look for any decision from her in respect to 
Ottilie. He therefore accommodated himself to the 
circumstances, and returned to the superior with these 
prospects and hopes. 

Charlotte's confinement was now approaching: she 
kept more in her own room. The ladies who had gath- 
ered about her were her closest companions. Ottilie 
managed all domestic matters, hardly able, however, 
the while, to think of what she was doing. She had 
indeed utterly resigned herself : she desired to continue 
to exert herself to the extent of her power for Char- 
lotte, for the child, for Edward. But she could not 
see how it would be possible for her. Nothing could 
save her from utter distraction, except to do the duty 
each day brought with it. 

A son was brought happily into the world ; and the 
ladies declared, with one voice, it was the very image 
of its father. Only Ottilie, as she wished the new 
mother joy, and kissed the child with all her heart, 
was unable to see the likeness. Once already Char- 
lotte had felt most painfully the absence of her hus- 
band, when she had to make preparations for her 
daughter's marriage. And now the father could not 



364 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

be present at the birth of his son. He could not have 
the choosing of the name by which the child was here- 
after to be called. 

The first among all Charlotte's friends who came to 
wish her joy was Mittler. He had placed expresses 
ready to bring him news the instant the event took 
place. He made his appearance, and was scarcely 
able to conceal his triumph, even before Ottilie ; when 
alone with Charlotte, he gave utterance to it, and was 
at once ready with means to remove all anxieties, and 
set aside all immediate difficulties. The baptism should 
not be delayed a day longer than necessary. The old 
clergyman, who had one foot already in the grave, 
should leave his blessing, to bind together the past 
and the future. The child was to be called Otto; 
what name could he bear so fitly as that of his father 
and of his father's friend ? 

It required the peremptory resolution of this man 
to set aside the innumerable considerations, arguments, 
hesitations, difficulties; what this person knew, and 
that person knew better ; the opinions, up and down, 
and backwards and forwards, which every friend vol- 
unteered. It always happens on such occasions, that, 
when one inconvenience is removed, a new one seems 
to arise ; and, in wishing to spare all sides, we inevi- 
tably go wrong on one side or the other. 

The letters to friends and relations were all under- 
taken by Mittler, and they were to be written and sent 
off at once. It was highly necessary, he thought, that 
the good fortune, which he considered so important 
for the family, should be known as widely as possi- 
ble through the ill-natured and misinterpreting world. 
For, indeed, these late entanglements and perplexities 
had got abroad ; people, at all times, holding the con- 
viction that whatever happens, happens only in order 
that they may have something to talk about. 

The ceremony of the baptism was to be observed 



K 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 365 

with all due honour, but it was to be as brief and as 
private as possible. The people came together : Ottilie 
and Mittler were to hold the child as sponsors. The 
old pastor, supported by the servants of the church, 
came in with slow steps: the prayers were offered. 
The boy lay in Ottilie's arms : and, as she was looking 
affectionately down at him, he opened his eyes ; and 
she was not a little startled when she seemed to see 
her own eyes looking at her. The likeness would 
have surprised any one. Mittler, who next had to 
receive the child, started as well ; he fancying he saw 
in the little features a most striking likeness to the 
captain. He had never seen a resemblance so marked. 

The infirmity of the good old clergyman had not 
permitted him to accompany the ceremony with more 
than the usual liturgy. 

Mittler, however, who was full of his subject, re- 
membered his former performances when he had been 
in the ministry ; and indeed, it was one of his pecu- 
liarities, that, on every sort of occasion, he always 
thought what he would like to say, and what expres- 
sions he would use. 

At this time he was the less able to contain himself, 
as he was now in the midst of a circle consisting en- 
tirely of well-known friends. He began, therefore, 
toward the conclusion of the service, to put himself 
quietly into the place of the clergyman; in a funny 
manner to speak of his duties and hopes as god- 
father, and to dwell all the longer on the subject, as 
he thought he saw, in Charlotte's gratified look, that 
she was pleased with his doing so. 

It altogether escaped the eagerness of the orator, 
that the good old man would gladly have sat down ; 
still less did he think that he was on the way to occa- 
sion a more serious evil. After he had emphatically 
dwelt upon the relation in which every person present 
stood toward the child, thereby putting Ottilie's com- 



X 



366 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

posure sorely to the proof, he turned at last to the old 
man with the words, "And you, my worthy father, 
you may now well say with Simeon, ' Lord, now lettest 
thou thy servant depart in peace ; for mine eyes have 
seen the saviour of this house.' " 

He was now in full swing toward a brilliant perora- 
tion, when he perceived the old man, to whom he held 
; out the child, first appear a little to incline toward it, 
and immediately after to totter and sink backward. 
Hardly prevented from falling, he was lifted to a seat ; 
but, notwithstanding the instant assistance which was 
rendered, he was found to be dead. 

To see thus side by side birth and death, the coffin 
and the cradle, to see them and to realise them, to 
comprehend, not with the eye of imagination, but with 
the bodily eye, at one moment these fearful opposites, 
was a hard trial to the spectators; the harder, the 
more utterly it had taken them by surprise. Ottilie 
alone stood contemplating the slumberer, whose fea- 
tures still retained their gentle, sweet expression, with 
a kind of envy. The life of her soul was extinct : why 
should the bodily life any longer drag on in weariness ? 

But though Ottilie was frequently led by melan- 
choly incidents which occurred in the day, to think of 
the past, of separation and of loss, at night she had 
strange visions given her to comfort her, which assured 
her of the existence of her beloved, and thus gave her 
strength for her own life. When she laid herself down 
at night to rest, and was floating among sweet sensa- 
tions between sleep and waking, she seemed to be 
looking into a clear but softly illuminated space. In 
this she would see Edward with the greatest distinct- 
ness, and not in the dress in which she had been accus- 
tomed to see him, but in military uniform ; never in 
the same position, but always in a natural one, and 
with nothing fantastic about him, either standing or 
walking, or lying or riding. The figure, which was 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



3^7 



painted with the utmost minuteness, moved readily 
before her without any effort of hers, without her will- 
ing it or exerting her imagination to produce it. Fre- 
quently she saw him surrounded with something in 
motion, which was darker than the bright ground ; but 
the figures were shadowy, and she could scarcely dis- 
tinguish them, — sometimes they were like men, some- 
times they were like horses, or like trees, or like 
mountains. She usually went to sleep in the midst 
of the apparition ; and when, after a quiet night, she 
woke again in the morning, she felt refreshed and 
comforted: she could say to herself, "Edward still 
lives;" and she herself was still remaining in the 
closest relation toward him. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Spring had come : it was late, but it therefore burst 
out more rapidly and more exhilaratingly than usual 
Ottilie now found in the garden the fruits of her care- 
fulness. Everything was germinating, and came out in 
leaf and flower at its proper time. A number of plants, 
which she had been training up under glass frames and in 
hotbeds, now burst forward at once to meet, at last, the 
advances of nature ; and whatever there was to do, and 
to take care of, it did not remain the mere labour of 
hope which it had been, but brought its reward in 
immediate and substantial enjoyment. 

Many a gap among the finest shoots had been pro- 
duced by Luciana's wild ways, for which she had to 
console the gardeuer; and the symmetry of many a 
leafy crown destroyed. She tried to encourage him to 
hope that it would all be soon restored again ; but he 
had too deep a feeling, and too pure an idea of the 
nature of his business, for such grounds of comfort to 
be of much service with him. Little as the gardener 
allowed himself to have his attention scattered by 
other tastes and inclinations, he could the less bear 
to have the peaceful course interrupted which the plant 
follows toward its enduring or its transient perfection. 
A plant is like a self-willed man, out of whom we can 
obtain all we desire if we will only treat him his own 
way. A calm eye, a silent method, in all seasons of 
the year, and at every hour, to do exactly what has 
then to be done, is required of no one perhaps more 
than of a gardener. These qualities the good man 

368 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 369 

possessed in an eminent degree, and on that account 
Ottilie liked so well to work together with him ; but 
for some time past he had not found himself able to 
exercise his peculiar talent with any pleasure to himself. 
Whatever concerned the fruit-gardening, or kitchen-gar- 
dening as well as whatever had in time past been required 
in the ornamental gardens, he understood perfectly. One 
man succeeds in one thing, another in another : he suc- 
ceeded in these. In his management of the orangery, of 
the bulbous flowers, in budding shoots and growing cut- 
tings from the carnations and auriculas, he might chal- 
lenge Nature herself. But the new ornamental shrubs 
and fashionable flowers remained in a measure strange 
to him. He had a kind of shyness of the endless field 
of botany, which had been lately opening itself; and 
the strange names humming about his ears made him 
cross and ill-tempered. The orders for flowers which 
had been made by his lord and lady in the course of 
the past year, he considered so much useless waste and 
extravagance. All the more, as he saw many valuable 
plants disappear ; and as he had ceased to stand on the 
best possible terms with the nursery gardeners, who 
he fancied had not been serving him honestly. 

Consequently, after a number of attempts, he had 
formed a sort of a plan, in which Ottilie encouraged 
him the more readily because its first essential condi- 
tion was the return of Edward, whose absence in this, 
as in many other matters, every day had to be felt 
more and more seriously. 

Now that the plants were striking new roots, and 
putting forth shoots, Ottilie felt herself even more 
fettered to this spot. It was just a year since she had 
come there as a stranger, as a mere insignificant crea- 
ture. How much had she not gained for herself since 
that time ! but, alas ! how much had she not also since 
that time lost again ! Never had she been so rich, and 
never so poor. The feelings of her loss and of her gain 



37<> ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

alternated momentarily, chasing each other through her 
heart ; and she could find no other means to help her- 
self, except always to set to work again at what lay 
nearest to her, with such interest and eagerness as she 
could command. 

That everything she knew to be dear to Edward re- 
ceived especial care from her, may be supposed. And 
why should she not hope that he himself would now 
soon come back again; and that, when present, he 
would show himself grateful for all the care and pains 
which she had taken for him in his absence ? 

But there was also a far different employment which 
she took upon herself in his service : she had under- 
taken the principal charge of the child, whose nurse it 
was all the easier for her to be, as they had determined 
not to put it into the hands of a wet-nurse, but to bring 
it up by hand with milk and water. In the beautiful 
season it was much out-of-doors, enjoying the free air ; 
and Ottilie liked best to take it out herself, to carry the 
unconscious sleeping infant among the flowers and 
blossoms which should one day smile so brightly on its 
childhood, — among the young shrubs and plants, 
which, by their youth, seemed designed to grow up with 
the young lord to their after stature. When she looked 
about her, she did not hide from herself to what a high 
position that child was born : far and wide, wherever 
the eye could see, all would one day belong to him. 
How desirable, how necessary, it must therefore be, 
that it should grow up under the eyes of its father and 
its mother, and renew and strengthen the union be- 
tween them ! 

Ottilie saw all this so clearly, that she represented 
it to herself as conclusively decided ; and for herself, as 
concerned with it, she never felt at all. Under this 
clear sky, in this bright sunshine, at once it became 
clear to her, that her love, if it would perfect itself, 
must become altogether unselfish; and there were 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 371 

many moments in which she believed it was an eleva- 
tion which she had already attained. She only de- 
sired the well-being of her friend. She fancied herself 
able to resign him, and never to see him any more, if 
she could only know that he was happy. The one only 
determination she formed for herself was, never to be- 
long to another. 

They had taken care that the autumn should be no 
less brilliant than the spring. Sunflowers were there, 
and all the other plants which never cease blossoming 
in autumn, and continue boldly on into the cold; 
asters especially were sown in the greatest abundance, 
and scattered about in all directions, to form a starry 
heaven upon the earth. 

FROM OTTILIB'S DIABY. 

" Any good thought we have read, anything striking 
we have heard, we commonly enter in our diary ; but 
if we would take the trouble, at the same time, to 
mark, of our friends' letters, the remarkable observa- 
tions, the original ideas, the hasty words so pregnant 
in meaning, which we might find in them, we should 
then be rich indeed. We lay aside letters never to 
read them again, and at last we destroy them out of 
discretion; and so disappears the most beautiful, the 
most immediate, breath of life, irrecoverably for our- 
selves and for others. I intend to make amends in 
future for such neglect." 

"So then, once more the old story of the year is 
being repeated over again. We are come now, thank 
God, again to its most charming chapter ! The violets 
and the mayflowers are as its superscriptions and its 
vignettes. It always makes a pleasant impression on 
us when we open again at these pages in the book of 
life." 



37* ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

« We find fault with the poor, particularly with the 
little onee among them, when they loiter about the 
streets and beg. Do we not observe that they begin 
to work again, as soon as ever there is anything for 
them to do ? Hardly has Nature unfolded her smiling 
treasures, than the children are at once upon her track 
to open out a calling for themselves. Not one of them 
is begging any longer: they have each a nosegay to 
offer you ; they were out and gathering it before you 
had awakened out of your sleep, and the supplicating 
face looks as sweetly at you as the present which the 
hand is holding out No person ever looks miserable 
who feels that he has a right to make a demand upon 
you." 

" How is it that the year sometimes seems so short, 
and sometimes is so long ? How is it that it is so short 
when it is passing, and so long as we look back over 

it ? When I think of the past (and it never comes so 
powerfully over me as in the garden), I feel how the 
perishing and the enduring work one upon the other ; 
and there is nothing whose endurance is so brief as not 
to leave behind it some trace of itself, something in its 
own likeness." 

" We are able to tolerate the winter. We fancy that 
we can extend ourselves more freely when the trees are 
so spectral, so transparent. They are nothing, but they 
conceal nothing ; but when once the germs and buds 
begin to show, then we become impatient for the full 
foliage to come out, for the landscape to put on its 
body, and the tree to stand before us as a form." 

" Everything which is perfect in its kind must pass 
out beyond and transcend its kind. It must be an 
inimitable something of another and a higher nature. 
In many of its tones the nightingale is only a bird; 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 373 

then it rises up above its class, and seems as if it would 
teach every feathered creature what singing really is." 

"A life without love, without the .presence of the 
beloved, is but poor cornMie d tiroir. We draw out 
slide after slide, swiftly tiring of each, and pushing 
it back to make haste to the next. Even what we 
know to be good and important hangs but wearily 
together : every step is an end, and every step is a 
fresh beginning." 



CHAPTER X. 



Charlotte meanwhile was well and in good spirits 
She was happy in her beautiful boy, whose fair- 
promising little form every hour was a delight to both 
her eyes and heart. In him she found a new link to 
connect her with the world and with her property- 
Her former activity began anew to stir in her again. 

Whichever way she looked, she aaw how much had 
been done in the year that was past; and it was a 
pleasure to her to contemplate it. Enlivened by the 
strength of these feelings, she climbed up to the sum- 
mer-house with Ottilie and the child : and as she laid 
the latter down on the little table, as on the altar of 
her house, and saw the two seats still vacant, she 
thought of gone-by times; and fresh hopes rose out 
before her for herself and for Ottilia 

Toung ladies, perhaps, look timidly round them at 
this or that young man, carrying on a silent examina- 
tion, whether they would like to have him for a 
husband; but whoever has a daughter or a female 
ward to care for, takes a wider circle in her survey. 
And so it fared at this moment with Charlotte, to 
whom, as she thought of how they had once sat side 
by side in that summer-house, a union did not seem 
impossible between the captain and Ottilie. It had 
not remained unknown to her, that the plans for 
the advantageous marriage, which had been proposed 
to the captain, had come to nothing. 

Charlotte went on up the cliff, and Ottilie carried 
the child. A number of reflections crowded upon the 

374 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 375 

former. Even on the firm land there are frequent 
enough shipwrecks; and the true wise conduct is to 
recover ourselves, and refit our vessel as fast as possi- 
ble. Is life to be calculated only by its gains and 
losses ? Who has not made arrangement on arrange- 
ment, and has not seen them disturbed ? How often 
does not a man strike into a road, and lose it again ! 
How often are we not turned aside from one point 
which we had sharply before our eye, but only to 
reach some higher stage ! The traveller, to his great- 
est annoyance, breaks a wheel upon his journey, and 
through this unpleasant accident makes some charming 
acquaintance, and forms some new connection, which 
has an influence on all his life. Destiny grants us 
our wishes, but in its own way, in order to give us 
something beyond our wishes. 

Among these and similar reflections they reached 
the new building on the hill, where they intended to 
establish themselves for the summer. The view all 
round them was far more beautiful than could have 
been supposed: every little obstruction had been re- 
moved; all the loveliness of the landscape, whatever 
nature, whatever the season of the year, had done for 
it, came out in its beauty before the eye ; and already 
the young plantations, which had been made to fill 
up a few openings, were beginning to look green, and 
to form an agreeable connecting link between parts 
which before stood separate. 

The house itself was nearly habitable: the views, 
particularly from the upper rooms, were of the richest 
variety. The longer you looked round you, the more 
beauties you discovered. What magnificent effects 
would be produced here at the different hours of day, 
— by sunlight and by moonlight ! Nothing could be 
more delightful than to come and live there ; and, now 
that she found all the rough work finished, Charlotte 
longed to be busy again. An upholsterer, a tapestry- 




hanger, a painter who could lay on the colours with 
patterns and a little gilding, were all which were re- 
quired; and these were* soon found, and in a short 
time the building was completed. Kitchen and cellar 
atores were quickly laid in; being so far from the 
castle, it was necessary to have all essentials provided, 
and the two ladies with the child went up and settled 
there. From this residence, as from a new centre, 
unknown walks opened out to them; and in these 
high regions the free^ fresh air and the beautiful 
weather were thoroughly delightful. 

OttiHe's favourite walk, sometimes alone, sometimes 
with the child, was down below toward the plane- 
trees, along a pleasant foot-path leading directly to the 
point where one of the boats was kept chained in 
which people used to go across the water. She often 
took pleasure in a sail on the water, but without the 
child, as Charlotte was a little uneasy about it She 
never missed, however, paying a daily visit to the 
castle garden and the gardener, and going to look with 
him at his show of greenhouse-plants, which were all 
out now, enjoying the free air. 

At this beautiful season, Charlotte was much pleased 
to receive a visit from an English nobleman, who had 
made Edward's acquaintance abroad, having met him 
more than once, and who was now curious to see the 
laying out of his park, which he had heard so much 
admired. He brought with him a letter of introduc- 
tion from the count, and introduced at the same time 
his travelling companion, a quiet but most agreeable 
man. He went about seeing everything, sometimes 
with Charlotte and Ottilie, sometimes with the gar- 
deners and the foresters, often with his friend, and 
now and then alone ; and they could perceive clearly 
from his observations, that he took an interest in such 
matters, and understood them well, indeed, that he 
had himself probably executed many such. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 377 

Although he was now advanced in life, he entered 
warmly into everything which could serve for an 
ornament to life, or contribute anything to its im- 
portance. 

In his presence the ladies came first properly to 
enjoy what was round them. His practised eye re- 
ceived every effect in its freshness; and he found all 
the more pleasure in what was before him, as he had 
not previously known the place, and was scarcely able 
to distinguish what man had done there from what 
nature had provided. 

We may even say, that, through his remarks, the 
park grew and enriched itself : he was able to antici- 
pate in their fulfilment the promises of the growing 
plantations. There was not a spot where there was 
any effect which could be either heightened or pro- 
duced, but what he observed it. 

In one place he pointed to a fountain, which, if it 
should be cleaned out, promised to be the most beauti- 
ful spot for a picnic-party. In another, to a cave 
which had only to be enlarged and swept clear of 
rubbish to form a desirable seat. A few trees might 
be cut down, and a view would be opened from it 
of some grand masses of rock towering magnificently 
against the sky. He wished the owners joy that so 
much was still remaining for them to do ; and he be- 
sought them not to be in a hurry about it, but to 
keep for themselves for years to come the pleasures 
of shaping and improving. 

At the hours the ladies usually spent alone, he was 
never in the way; for he was occupied the greatest 
part of the day in catching, in a portable camera 
obscura, such views in the park as would make good 
paintings, and drawing from them, in order to secure 
some desirable result from his travels for himself and 
others. For many years past he had been in the 
habit of doing this in all remarkable places which he 



378 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

visited, and bad provided himself by it with a most 
charming and interesting collection. He showed the 
ladies a large portfolio which he had brought with 
him, and entertained them with the pictures and with 
descriptions. And it was a real delight to them, here 
in their solitude, to travel so pleasantly over the 
world, and see sweep past them shores and havens, 
mountains, lakes, and rivers, cities, castles, and a hun- 
dred other localities which have a name in history. 

Each of the two ladies had an especial interest in 
it: Charlotte the more general interest in whatever 
was historically remarkable ; Ottilie dwelling in prefer- 
ence on the scenes of which Edward used most to 
talk, — where he liked best to stay, and which he 
would most often revisit. Every man has somewhere, 
far or near, his peculiar localities which attract him ; 
scenes which, according to his character, either from 
first impressions, or from particular associations, or 
from habit, have a charm for him beyond all others. 

She therefore asked the earl which of all these 
places pleased him best, where he would like to take 
up his abode if he might choose. There was more 
than one lovely spot which he pointed out, with what 
had happened to him there to make him love and 
value it ; and the peculiar accentuated French in 
which he spoke made it most pleasant to listen to 
him. 

To the question, which was his ordinary residence, 
which lie properly considered his home, he replied, 
without any hesitation, in a manner quite unexpected 
by the ladies : 

" I have accustomed myself by this time to be at 
home everywhere ; and I find, after all, that it is much 
more agreeable to allow others to plant and build and 
keep house for me. I have no desire to return to my own 
possessions, partly on political grounds, but principally 
because my son, for whose sake alone it was any 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 379 

pleasure to me to remain and work there, — who will, 
by and by, inherit it, and with whom I hoped to 
enjoy it, — took no interest in the place at all, but has 
gone out to India, where, like many other foolish 
fellows, he fancies he can make a higher use of his 
life. He is more likely to squander it. 

"Assuredly we spend far too much labour and out- 
lay in preparation for life. Instead of beginning at 
once to make ourselves happy in a moderate condition, 
we spread ourselves out wider and wider, only to 
make ourselves more and more uncomfortable. Who 
is there now to enjoy my mansion, my park, my gar- 
dens? Not I, nor any of mine — strangers, visitors 
or curious, restless travellers. 

" Even with large means, we are ever but half and 
half at home, especially in the country, where we miss 
many things to which we have become accustomed in 
town. The book for which we are most anxious is 
not to be had, and just the thing we wanted most is 
forgotten. We take to being domestic, only again to 
go out of ourselves: if we do not go astray of our 
own will and caprice, circumstances, passions, acci- 
dents, necessity, and one does not know what besides, 
manage it for us." 

Little did the earl imagine how deeply his friend 
would be touched by these random observations. It 
is a danger to which we are all of us exposed when we 
venture on general remarks in a society the circum- 
stances of which we might have supposed were well 
enough known to us. Such casual wounds, even from 
well-meaning, kindly-disposed people, were nothing 
new to Charlotte. She so clearly, so thoroughly, knew 
and understood the world, that it gave her no particu- 
lar pain if it did happen, that, through somebody's 
thoughtlessness or imprudence, she had her attention 
forced into this or that unpleasant direction. But it 
was very different with Ottilie. At her half-conscious 



3 So 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



age, at which she rather felt than saw, and at which 
she was disposed, indeed was obliged, to turn her eyes 
away from what she should not or would not see, 
Ottilie was thrown by this melancholy conversation 
into the most pitiable state. It rudely tore away the 
pleasant veil from before her eyes: and it seemed to 
her as if what had been done all this time for house 
ami court, for park and garden, for all their wide 
environs, were utterly in vain, because he to whom it 
all belonged could not enjoy it ; because he, like their 
present visitor, had been driven out to wander up and 
down in the world — and indeed in the most perilous 
paths of it — -by those who were nearest and dearest to 
him, She was accustomed to listen in silence; but, 
on tliis occasion, she sat on in the most painful con- 
dition, which, indeed, was made rather worse than 
better by what the stranger went on to say, as he con- 
tinued, with bis peculiar, humourous gravity: 

" 1 think I am now on the right way, I look upon 
myself steadily as a traveller, who renounces many 
things in order to enjoy more. I am accustomed to 
change: it has become, indeed, a necessity to me, just 
as in tin; opera, people are always looking out for new 
and aew decorations, because there have already been 
so many. 1 know very well what I am to expect 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 381 

house catches fire about my ears, my people quietly 
pack my things up, and we pass away out of the town 
in search of other quarters. And considering all these 
advantages, when I reckon carefully, I find, that, by 
the end of the year, I have not sacrificed more than it 
would have cost me to be at home." 

In this description Ottilie saw nothing but Edward 
before her. How he, too, was now amidst discomfort 
and hardship, marching along untrodden roads, lying 
out in the fields in danger and want, and, in all this 
insecurity and hazard, growing accustomed to be 
homeless and friendless, learning to fling away every- 
thing that he might have nothing to lose. Fortunately 
the party separated for a short time. Ottilie escaped 
to her room, where she could give way to her tears. 
No weight of sorrow had ever pressed so heavily upon 
her as this clear perception (which she tried, as people 
usually do, to make still clearer to herself), that men 
love to dally with and exaggerate the evils which 
circumstances have once begun to inflict upon them. 

Edward's condition appeared to her in a light so 
piteous, so miserable, that she made up her mind, let 
it cost her what it would, that she would do every- 
thing in her power to unite him again with Charlotte, 
and she herself would go and hide her sorrow and her 
love in some silent scene, and beguile the time with 
such employment as she could find. 

Meanwhile the earl's companion, a quiet, sensible 
man and a keen observer, had remarked the untoward- 
ness of the conversation, and spoke to his friend about 
it. The latter knew nothing of the circumstances of 
the family ; but the other — being one of those persons 
whose principal interest in travelling lay in gathering 
up the strange occurrences which arose out of the 
natural or artificial relations of society, which were 
produced by the conflict of the restraint of law with 
the violence of the will, of the understanding with the 



382 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

reason, of passion with prejudice — had some time 
before made himself acquainted with the outline of 
the story ; and, since he had been in the family, he 
had learned exactly all that had taken place, and the 
present position in which things were standing. 

The earl, of course, was very sorry ; but it was not 
a thing to make him uneasy. A man would have to 
be silent altogether in society were he never to find 
himself in such a position; for not only important 
remarks, but the most trivial expressions, may happen 
to clash in an inharmonious key with the interest of 
somebody present. 

"We will set things right this evening," said he, 
" and escape from any general conversation : you shall 
let them hear one of the many charming anecdotes 
with which your portfolio and your memory have 
enriched themselves while we have been abroad." 

However, with the best intentions, the strangers did 
not, on this next occasion, succeed any better in grati- 
fying their friends with unalloyed entertainment. The 
earl's friend told a number of singular stories — some 
serious, some amusing, some touching, some terrible — 
with which he had roused their attention and strained 
their interest to the highest tension ; and he thought 
to conclude with a strange but softer incident, little 
dreaming how nearly it would touch his listeners. 

THE TWO STRANGE CHILDREN. 

" Two children of neighbouring families, a boy and a 
girl, of such respective ages as would well suit their 
marrying at some future time, were brought up to- 
gether with this agreeable prospect ; and the parents 
on both sides, who were people of some position in the 
world, looked forward with pleasure to their future 
union. 

" It was too soon observed, however, that the pur- 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 383 

pose seemed likely to fail: the dispositions of both 
children promised everything which was good, but 
there was an unaccountable antipathy between them. 
Perhaps they were too much like each other. Both 
were thoughtful, clear in their desires, and firm in 
their purposes. Each separately was beloved and 
respected by his or her companions; but, whenever 
they were together, they were always antagonists. 
Forming separate plans for themselves, they only met 
to mutually cross and thwart one another ; never emu- 
lating each other in pursuit of one aim, but always 
fighting for a single object. Good-natured and amiable 
everywhere else, they were spiteful and even malicious 
whenever they came in contact. 

"This singular relation first showed itself in their 
childish games, and it continued with their advancing 
years. The boys used to play at soldiers, divide into 
parties, and give each other battle: and the fierce, 
haughty young lady set herself at once at the head of 
one of the armies, and fought against the other with 
such animosity and bitterness that the latter would 
have been put to a shameful flight, except for the 
desperate bravery of her own particular rival, who at 
last disarmed his antagonist and took her prisoner; 
and even then she defended herself with so much fury, 
that to save his eyes from being torn out, and, at the 
same time, not to injure his enemy, he had been 
obliged to take off his silk handkerchief, and tie with 
it her hands behind her back. 

"This she never forgave him: she made so many 
attempts, she laid so many plans, to injure him, that 
the parents, who had been long watching these singu- 
lar passions, came to an understanding together, and 
resolved to separate these two hostile creatures, and 
sacrifice their favourite hopes. 

"The boy soon distinguished himself in the new 
situation in which he was placed. He mastered every 



384 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

subject which he was taught His friends and his 
own inclination chose the army for his profession ; and 
everywhere, let him be where he would, he was looked 
up to and beloved. His disposition seemed formed to 
labour for the well-being and pleasure of others ; and 
he himself, without being clearly conscious of it, 
was in himself happy at having got rid of the only 
antagonist which nature had assigned to him. 

"The girl, on the other hand, became at once an 
altered creature. Her growing age; the progress of 
her education; above all, her own inward feelings, — 
drew her away from the boisterous games with boys in 
which she had hitherto delighted. Altogether, she 
seemed to want something: there was nothing any- 
where about her which could deserve to excite her 
hatred, and she had never found any one whom she 
could think worthy of her lova 

" A young man, somewhat older than her previous 
neighbour - antagonist, of rank, property, and conse- 
quence, beloved in society, and much sought after by 
women, bestowed his affections upon her. It was the 
first time that friend, lover, or servant had displayed 
any interest in her. The preference he showed for her 
above others who were older, more cultivated, and of 
more brilliant pretensions than herself, was naturally 
gratifying : the constancy of his attention, which was 
never obtrusive ; his standing by her faithfully through 
a number of unpleasant incidents ; his quiet suit, which 
was declared indeed to her parents, but which, as she 
was still very young, he did not press, only asking to 
be allowed to hope, — all this engaged him to her; 
and custom, and the assumption in the world that the 
thing was already settled, carried her along with it 
She had so often been called his betrothed that at last 
she began to consider herself so ; and neither she nor 
any one else ever thought any further trial could be 
necessary before she exchanged rings with the person 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 385 

who for so long a time had passed for her in- 
tended. 

" The peaceful course which the affair had all along 
followed was not at all precipitated by the betrothal. 
Things were allowed to go on, on both sides, just as 
they were: they were happy in being together, and 
they could enjoy to the end the fair season of the 
year as the spring of their future more serious 
life. 

" The absent youth had meanwhile grown up into 
everything which was most admirable. He had ob- 
tained a well-deserved rank in his profession, and 
came home on leave to visit his family. Toward his 
fair neighbour he found himself again in a natural but 
singular position. For some time past she had been 
nourishing in herself such affectionate family feelings 
as suited her position as a bride ; she was in harmony 
with everything about her ; she believed that she was 
happy ; and, in a certain sense, she was so. Now, for 
the first time after a long interval, something again 
stood in her way. It was not to be hated — she had 
become incapable of hatred. Indeed, the childish hatred, 
which had in fact been nothing more than an obscure 
recognition of inward worth, expressed itself now in a 
happy astonishment, in pleasure at meeting, in ready 
acknowledgments, in a half willing, half unwilling, and 
yet irresistible, attraction; and all this was mutual 
Their long separation gave occasion for longer conver- 
sations ; even their old childish foolishness served, now 
that they had grown wiser, to amuse them as they 
looked back; and they felt as if at least they were 
bound to make good their petulant hatred by friendli- 
ness and attention to each other, as if their first violent 
injustice to each other ought not to be left without open 
acknowledgment. 

" On his side it all remained in a sensible, desirable 
moderation. His position, his circumstances, his efforts, 



386 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

his ambition, found him so abundant an occupation, 
that the friendliness of this pretty bride he received 
as a very thankworthy present, but without, therefore, 
even so much as thinking of her in connection with 
himself, or entertaining the slightest jealousy of the 
bridegroom, with whom he stood on the best possible 
terms. 

" With her, however, it was altogether different. She 
seemed to herself as if she had awakened out of a 
dream. Her fightings with her young neighbour had 
been the beginnings of an affection ; and this violent 
antagonism was no more than an equally violent in- 
nate passion for him, first showing under the form of 
opposition. She could remember nothing else than 
that she had always loved him. She laughed over her 
martial encounter with him with weapons in her hand : 
she dwelt upon the delight of her feelings when he 
disarmed her. She imagined that it had given her the 
greatest happiness when he bound her, and whatever 
she had done afterward to injure him or to vex him 
presented itself to her as only an innocent means of 
attracting his attention. She cursed their separation. 
She bewailed the sleepy state into which she had 
fallen. She execrated the insidious, lazy routine 
which had betrayed her into accepting so insignifi- 
cant a bridegroom. She was transformed, doubly 
transformed, forward or backward, whichever way we 
like to take it. 

" She kept her feelings entirely to herself ; but if 
any one could have divined them, and shared them 
with her, he could not have blamed her: for indeed 
the bridegroom could not sustain a comparison with 
the other as soon as they were seen together. If a 
sort of regard to the one could not be refused, the 
other excited the fullest trust and confidence. If one 
made an agreeable acquaintance, the other we should 
desire for a companion ; and in extraordinary cases, 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

where higher demands might have to be made 1 
them, the bridegroom was a person to be utterly de 
spaired of, while the other would give the feeling of 
perfect security. 

" There is a peculiar, innate tact in women which 
discovers to them differences of this kind, and they 
have cause as well as occasion to cultivate it. 

"The more the fair bride was nourishing all these 
feelings in secret, the less opportunity there was for 
any one to speak a word which could tell in favour of 
her bridegroom, to remind her of what her duty and 
their relative position advised and commanded, — in- 
deed, what an unalterable necessity seemed now irrev- 
ocably to require: the poor heart gave itself up 
entirely to its passion. 

" On one side she was bound inextricably to the 
bridegroom by the world, by her family, and by her 
own promise : on the other, the ambitious young man 
made no secret of what he was thinking and planning 
for himself, conducting himself toward her only as a 
kind, but not at all a tender, brother, and speaking of his 
departure as immediately impending ; and now it seemed 
as if her early childish spirit woke up again in her with 
all its spleen and violence, and was preparing itself in 
its distemper, on this higher stage of life, to work more 
effectively and destructively. She determined that she 
would die to punish the once hated, and now so pas- 
sionately loved, youth for his want of interest in her ; 
and, as she could not possess himself, at least she would 
wed herself for ever to his imagination and to his re- 
pentance. Her dead image should cling to him, and 
he should never be free from it. He should never 
cease to reproach himself for not having understood, 
examined, valued her feelings toward him. 

"This singular insanity accompanied her wherever 
she went. She kept it concealed under all sorts of 
forms ; and, although people thought her very odd, no 



388 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

one was observant enough or clever enough to discover 
the real inward reason. 

" In the meantime, friends, relations, acquaintances, 
had exhausted themselves in contrivances for pleasure- 
parties. Scarcely a day passed, but something new and 
unexpected was set on foot. There was hardly a pretty 
spot in the country round which had not been decked 
out and prepared for the reception of some merry party. 
And now our young visitor, before departing, wished to 
do his part as well, and invited the young couple, with 
a small family circle, to an expedition on the water. 
They went on board a large, beautiful vessel, dressed 
out in all its colours, — one of the yachts which had a 
small saloon, and a cabin or two besides, and are in- 
tended to carry with them upon the water the comfort 
and conveniences of land. 

"They set out upon the broad river with music- 
playing. The party had collected in the cabin, below 
deck, during the heat of the day, and were amusing 
themselves with games. Their young host, who could 
never remain without doing something, had taken 
charge of the helm, to relieve the old master of the 
vessel; and the latter had lain down and was fast 
asleep. It was a moment when the steerer required 
all his circumspectness, as the vessel was nearing a 
spot where two islands narrowed the channel of the 
river; while shallow banks of shingle stretching off, 
first on one side and then on the other, made the 
navigation difficult and dangerous. Prudent and sharp- 
sighted as he was, he thought for a moment that it 
would be better to wake the master ; but he felt confi- 
dent in himself, and he thought he would venture and 
make straight for the narrows. At this moment his 
fair enemy appeared upon deck with a wreath of 
flowers in her hair. ' Take this to remember me by/ 
she cried out. She took it off, and threw it to the 
steerer. ' Don't disturb me/ he answered quickly, as 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 389 

he caught the wreath : ' I require all my powers and 
all my attention now.' ' You will never be disturbed 
by me any more,' she cried : ' you will never see me 
again.' As she spoke, she rushed to the forward part 
of the vessel; and from thence she sprang into the 
water. Voice upon voice called out, ' Save her, save 
her: she is sinking!' He was in the most terrible 
difficulty. In the confusion the old shipmaster woke, 
and tried to catch the rudder, which the young man 
bid him take. But there was no time to change hands. 
The vessel stranded ; and at the same moment, flinging 
off the heaviest of his upper garments, he sprang into 
the water, and swam toward his beautiful enemy. The 
water is a friendly element to a man who is at home 
in it, and who knows how to deal with it : it buoyed 
him up, and acknowledged the strong swimmer as its 
master. He soon overtook the beautiful girl, who had 
been swept away before him : he caught hold of her, 
raised her and supported her ; and both of them were 
carried violently down by the current, till the shoals 
and islands were left far behind, and the river was 
again open and running smoothly. He now began to 
collect himself: they had passed the first immediate 
danger, in which he had been obliged to act mechan- 
ically without time to think ; he raised his head as high 
as he could to look about him, and then swam with all 
his might to a low, bushy point, which ran out con- 
veniently into the stream. There he brought his fair 
burden to dry land, but he could find no signs of life 
in her : he was in despair, when he caught sight of a 
trodden path leading among the bushes. Again he 
caught her up in his arms, hurried forward, and pres- 
ently reached a solitary cottage. There he found kind, 
good people, — a young married couple ; the misfortunes 
and dangers were soon explained ; every remedy he 
could think of was instantly applied ; a bright fire 
blazed up; woollen blankets were spread on a bed; 



390 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

counterpane, cloaks, skins, whatever there was at hand 
which would serve for warmth, were heaped over her 
as fast as possible. The desire to save life overpow- 
ered, for the present, every other consideration. Noth- 
ing was left undone to bring back to life the beautiful, 
half-torpid, naked body. It succeeded : she opened her 
eyes ! her friend was before her : she threw her heav- 
enly arms about his neck. In this position she re- 
mained for a time, and then a stream of tears burst out 
and completed her recovery. « Will you forsake me/ 
she cried, ' now, when I find you again thus ? ' 
' Never/ he answered, ' never/ hardly knowing what he 
said or did. « Only consider yourself/ she added, ' take 
care of yourself, for your sake and for mine.' 

" She now began to collect herself, and for the first 
time recollected the state in which she was ; she could 
not be ashamed before her darling, before her preserver ; 
but she gladly allowed him to go, that he might take 
care of himself : for the clothes he still wore were wet 
and dripping. 

" Their young hosts considered what could be done. 
The husband offered the young man, and the wife 
offered the fair lady, the dresses in which they had 
been married, which were hanging up in full perfection, 
and sufficient for a complete suit, inside and out, for 
two people. In a short time our pair of adventurers 
were not only equipped, but in full costume. They 
looked most charming, gazed at one another, when they 
met, with admiration ; and then with infinite affection, 
half laughing at the same time at the quaintness of 
their appearance, they fell into each other's arms. 

" The power of youth and the quickening spirit of 
love in a few moments completely restored them, and 
there was nothing wanted but music to have set them 
both off dancing. 

" To have found themselves brought from the water 
on dry land, from death into life, from the circle of 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 391 

their families into a wilderness, from despair into rap- 
ture, from indifference to affection and to love, all in a 
moment, — the head was not strong enough to bear it : 
it must either burst, or go distracted ; or, if so distress- 
ing an alternative were to be escaped, the heart must 
put out all its efforts. 

" Lost wholly in each other, it was long before they 
recollected the alarm and anxiety of those who had 
been left behind; and they themselves, indeed, could 
not well think, without alarm and anxiety, how they 
were again to encounter them. ' Shall we run away ? 
shall we hide ourselves?' said the young man. 'We 
will remain together/ she said, as she clung to his 
neck. 

"The peasant, having heard them say that a boat 
was aground on the shoal, had hurried down, without 
stopping to ask another question, to the shore. When 
he arrived there, he saw the vessel coming safely down 
the stream. After much labour it had been got off; 
and they were now going on in uncertainty, hoping 
to find their lost ones again somewhere. The peasant 
shouted and made signs to them, and at last caught 
the attention of those on board : then he ran to a spot 
where there was a convenient place for landing, and 
went on signalling and shouting till the vessel's head 
was turned toward the shore ; and what a scene there 
was for them when they landed ! The parents of the 
two betrothed first pressed forward to the bank: the 
poor, loving bridegroom had almost lost his senses. 
They had scarcely learned that their dear children had 
been saved, when in their strange disguise the latter 
came forward out of the bushes to meet them. No 
one recognised them till they had come quite close. 
c Who do I see ? ' cried the mothers. ' What do I see ? ' 
cried the fathers. The preserved ones flung themselves 
on the ground before them. 'Your children,' they 
called out : ' a pair.' ' Forgive us ! ' cried the maiden. 



39' 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



• Give qb your blearing!' cried the young man. 'Give 
us your blessing !• they cried both, as all the world 
stood still in wonder. * Your blessing I' was repeated 
the third time; and who would hay© been able to 
refuse it?" 



CHAPTER XI. 

The narrator made a pause, or, rather, he had already 
finished his story, before he observed the emotion into 
which Charlotte had been thrown by it. She got up, 
uttered some sort of an apology, and left the room. 
To her it was a well-known history. The principal 
incident in it had really taken place with the captain 
and a neighbour of her own, not exactly, indeed, as the 
Englishman had related it. But the main features of it 
were the same. It had only been more finished off 
and elaborated in its details, as stories of that kind 
always are, when they have passed first through the lips 
of the multitude, and then through the fancy of a clever 
and imaginative narrator; the result of the process 
being usually to leave everything and nothing as it waa 

Ottilie followed Charlotte, as the two friends begged 
her to do ; and then it was the earl's turn to remark, 
that perhaps they had made a second mistake, and that 
the subject of the story had been well known to, or was 
in some way connected with, the family. " We must 
take care," he added, "that we do no more mischief 
here ; we seem to bring little good to our entertainers 
for all the kindness and hospitality which they have 
shown us: we will make some excuse for ourselves, 
and then take our leava" 

"I must confess," answered his companion, "that 
there is something else which still holds me here ; and, 
on account of which, I should be sorry to leave this 
house without having it explained to me, and becom- 
ing better acquainted with it. You were too busy 

393 



394 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

yourself yesterday, when we were in the park with the 
camera, in looking for spots where you could make 
your sketches, to have observed anything else which 
was passing. Ton left the broad walk, yon remember, 
and went to a sequestered place on the side of the lake. 
There was a fine view of the opposite shore, which you 
wished to take. Well, Ottilie, who was with us, got 
up to follow, and then proposed that she and I should 
find our way to you in the boat I got in with her, 
and was delighted with the skill of my fair conduct- 
ress. I assured her, that never since I had been in 
Switzerland, where the young ladies so often fill the 
place of the boatman, had I been so pleasantly ferried 
over the water. At the same time, I could not help 
asking her why she had shown such an objection to 
going the way which you had gone, along the little by- 
path. I had observed her shrink from it with a sort 
of painful uneasiness. She was not at all offended. 
' If you will promise not to laugh at me,' she answered, 
' I will tell you as much as I know about it ; but to 
myself it is a mystery which I cannot explain. There 
is a particular spot in that path which I never pass 
without a strange shudder passing over me, which I do 
not remember ever feeling anywhere else, and which I 
cannot the least understand. But I shrink from ex- 
posing myself to the sensation, because it is followed 
immediately after by a pain on the left side of my 
head, from which at other times I suffer severely.' We 
landed. Ottilie was engaged with you ; and I took the 
opportunity of examining the spot, which she pointed 
out to me as we went by on the water. I was not a 
little surprised to find there distinct traces of coal, in 
sufficient quantities to convince me, that, at a short 
distance below the surface, there must be a considerable 
bed of it. 

" Pardon me, my lord : I see you smile ; and I know 
very well that you have no faith in these things about 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 395 

which I am so eager, and that it is only your sense and 
your kindness which enable you to tolerate me. How- 
ever, it is impossible for me to leave this place without 
trying on that beautiful creature an experiment with 
the pendulum/' 

Whenever these matters came to be spoken of, the 
earl never failed to repeat the same objections to them 
over and over again ; and his friend endured them all 
quietly and patiently, remaining firm, nevertheless, to 
his own opinion, and holding to his own wishes. He, 
too, repeatedly showed that there was no reason, be- 
cause the experiment did not succeed with every one, 
that they should give them up, as if there were nothing 
in them but fancy. They should be examined into all 
the more earnestly and scrupulously; and there was 
no doubt that the result would be the discovery of a 
number of affinities of inorganic creatures for one an- 
other, and of organic creatures for them, and again for 
each other, which at present were unknown to us. 

He had already spread out his apparatus of gold 
rings, marcasites, and other metallic substances, which 
he always carried about with himself, in a pretty little 
box ; and he suspended a piece of metal by a string over 
another piece, which he placed upon the table. " Now, 
my lord," he said, " you may take what pleasure you 
please (I can see in your face what you are feeling) at 
perceiving that nothing will set itself in motion with 
me or for me. But my proceedings are no more than 
a pretext; when the ladies come back, they will be 
curious to know what strange work we are about." 

The ladies returned. Charlotte understood at once 
what was going on. "I have heard much of these 
things," she said, " but I never saw the effect myself. 
You have everything ready there. Let me try whether 
I can succeed in producing anything." 

She took the thread into her hand ; and, as she was 
perfectly serious, she held it steady, and without any 



396 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

agitation. Not the slightest motion, however, could 
be detected. Ottilie was then called upon to try. She 
held the pendulum, still more quietly and uncon- 
sciously, over the plate on the table. But in a mo- 
ment the swinging piece of metal began to stir with 
a distinct rotatory action, and turned as they moved 
the position of the plate, first to one side and then to 
the other ; now in circles, now in ellipses ; or else de- 
scribing a series of straight lines ; doing all the earl's 
friend could expect, and far exceeding, indeed, all his 
expectations. 

The earl himself was a little staggered; but the 
other could never be satisfied from delight and curi- 
osity, and begged for the experiment again and again, 
with all sorts of variationa Ottilie was complacent 
enough to gratify him ; till at last she politely re- 
quested to be allowed to go, as her headache had come 
on again. In further admiration, and even rapture, 
he assured her with enthusiasm that he would cure 
her for ever of her disorder, if she would only trust 
herself to his remedies. For a moment they did not 
know what he meant ; but Charlotte, who quickly saw 
what he was about, declined his well-meant offer, not 
liking to have introduced and practised about her a 
thing of which she had always had the strongest 
apprehensions. 

The strangers were gone, and, notwithstanding their 
having been the inadvertent cause of strange and pain- 
ful emotions, left the wish behind them that this meet- 
ing might not be the last. Charlotte now made use of 
the beautiful weather to return visits in the neighbour- 
hood, which, indeed, gave her work enough to do, see- 
ing that the whole country round, some from a real 
interest, some merely from custom, had been most 
attentive in calling to inquire after her. At home her 
delight was the sight of the child, and really it well 
deserved all love and interest. People saw in it a 



r i ii iri 1 1 1 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



397 



wonderful child, — nay, a prodigy : the brightest, sun- 
niest little face ; a fine, well-proportioned body, strong 
and healthy: and, what surprised them more, the 
double resemblance, which became more and more 
conspicuous. In figure, and in the features of the face, 
it was like the captain : the eyes every day it was less 
easy to distinguish from the eyes of Ottilie. 

Ottilie herself, partly from this remarkable affinity, 
perhaps still more under the influence of that sweet 
woman's feeling which makes them regard with the 
most tender affection the offspring of the man they 
love, even when born to him by another woman, was 
as good as a mother to the little creature as it grew ; 
or, rather, she was a second mother of another kind. 
If Charlotte was absent, Ottilie remained alone with 
the child and the nurse. Nanny had for some time 
past been jealous of the boy for monopolising the 
entire affections of her mistress : she had left her in a 
fit of crossness, and gone back to her mother. Ottilie 
would carry the child about in the open air, and by 
degrees took longer and longer walks with him. She 
took her bottle of milk, to give the child its food when 
it wanted any. Generally, too, she took a book with 
her ; and so, with the child in her arms, reading and 
wandering, she made a very pretty Penserosa. 



CHAPTER Xn. 

The object of the campaign was attained ; and 
Edward, with crosses and decorations, was honourably 
dismissed. He betook himself at once to the same 
little estate, where he found exact accounts of his 
family waiting for him, on whom, all this time, with- 
out their having observed it or known of it, a sharp 
watch had been kept under his orders. His quiet resi- 
dence looked most sweet and pleasant when he reached 
it. In accordance with his orders, various improve- 
ments had been made in his absence; and what 
was wanting to the establishment in extent was com- 
pensated by its internal comforts and conveniences. 
Edward, accustomed by his more active habits of life 
to take decided steps, determined to execute a project 
which he long had sufficient time to think over. First 
of all, he invited the major to come to him. Great 
was their joy at meeting again. The friendships of 
boyhood, like relationship of blood, possess this impor- 
tant advantage, that mistakes and misunderstandings 
never produce irreparable injury, and the old regard 
after a time will always reestablish itself. 

Edward began by inquiring about the situation of 
his friend, and learned that fortune had favoured him 
exactly as he most could have wished. He then half 
seriously asked whether there was not something 
going forward about a marriage, to which he received 
a most decided and positive denial. 

" I cannot and will not have any reserve with you," 
he proceeded. " I will tell you at once what my own 

398 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 399 

feelings are, and what I intend to do. You know my 
passion for Ottilie : you must long have comprehended 
that it was this which drove me into the campaign. I 
do not deny that I desired to be rid of a life which, 
without her, would be of no further value to me. At 
the same time, however, I acknowledge that I could 
never bring myself utterly to despair. The prospect 
of happiness with her was so beautiful, so infinitely 
charming, that it was not possible for me entirely to 
renounce it. Feelings, too, which I cannot explain, 
and a number of happy omens, have combined to 
strengthen me in the belief, in the assurance, that 
Ottilie will one day be mine. The glass, with our 
initials cut upon it, which was thrown into the air 
when the foundation-stone was laid, did not go to 
pieces : it was caught, and I have it again in my pos- 
session. After many miserable hours of uncertainty, 
spent in this place, I said to myself, 'I will put 
myself in the place of this glass, and it shall be an 
omen whether our union be possible or not. I will 
go : I will seek for death, not like a madman, but like 
a man who still hopes that he may live. Ottilie shall 
be the prize for which I fight. Ottilie shall be behind 
the ranks of the enemy: in every intrenchment, in 
every beleaguered fortress, I shall hope to find her and 
to win her. I will do wonders, with the wish to sur- 
vive them ; with the hope to gain Ottilie, not to lose 
her/ These feelings have led me on, they have stood 
by me through all dangers ; and now I find myself like 
one who has arrived at his goal, who, having overcome 
every difficulty, has nothing more left in his way. 
Ottilie is mine ; and whatever lies between the thought 
and the execution of it I can only regard as unim- 
portant." 

"With a few strokes you blot out," replied the 
major, " all the objections that we can or ought to 
urge upon you ; and yet they must be repeated. I must 



400 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

leave it to yourself to recall the full value of your rela- 
tion with your wife ; but you owe it to her, and you 
owe it to yourself, not to close your eyes to it. How 
can I so much as mention that you have had a son 
given to you, without acknowledging at once that you 
two belong to one another for ever; that you are 
bound, for this little creature's sake, to live united, 
that united you may educate it, and provide for its 
future welfare ? " 

" It is no more than the blindness of parents," an- 
swered Edward, "when they imagine their existence 
to be of so much importance to their children. What- 
ever lives finds nourishment and finds assistance ; and 
if the son who has early lost his father does not spend 
so easy, so favoured a youth, he profits, perhaps, for 
that very reason, in being trained sooner for the world, 
and comes to a timely knowledge that he must ac- 
commodate himself to others, — a thing which sooner 
or later we are all forced to learn. Here, however, 
even these considerations are irrelevant : we are suffi- 
ciently well off to be able to provide for more children 
than one, and it is neither right nor kind to accumulate 
so large a property on a single head." 

The major attempted to say something of Charlotte's 
worth and Edward's long-standing attachment to her, 
but the latter hastily interrupted him. "We com- 
mitted ourselves to a foolish thing, — that I see all 
too clearly Whoever, in middle age, attempts to 
realise the wishes and hopes of his early youth invari- 
ably deceives himself. Each decade of a man's life 
has its own fortunes, its own hopes, its own desires. 
Woe to him who, either by circumstances or by his 
own infatuation, is induced to grasp at anything before 
him or behind him. We have done a foolish thing. 
Are we to abide by it all our lives ? Are we to hesi- 
tate indulging in what the customs of the age do not 
forbid ? In how many matters do men recall their 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 401 

intentions and their actions! And shall it not be 
allowed to them here, here where the question is not 
of this thing or of that, but of everything ; not of our 
single condition of life, but of the whole complex life 
itself?" 

Again the major adroitly and impressively urged on 
Edward to consider what he owed to his wife, what 
was due to his family, to the world, and to his own 
position ; but he could not succeed in producing the 
slightest impression.. 

a All these questions, my friend," he returned, "I 
have considered already again and again. They have 
passed before me in the storm of battle, when the 
earth was shaking with the thunder of the cannon, 
with the balls singing and whistling round me, with 
my comrades falling right and left, my horse shot 
under me, my hat pierced with bullets. They have 
floated before me by the still watch-fire under the 
starry vault of the sky. I have thoroughly thought 
on them all, felt them all through. I have weighed 
them ; and I have satisfied myself about them again 
and again, and now for ever. At such moments why 
should I not acknowledge it to you? you, too, were 
in my thoughts, you, too, belonged to my circle ; as, 
indeed, you and I have long belonged to one another. If 
I have ever been in your debt, I am now in a position to 
repay it with interest ; if you have been in mine, you 
have now the means to make it good to me. I know 
that you love Charlotte, and she deserves it. I know 
that you are not indifferent to her, and why should 
she not feel your worth ? Take her at my hand, and 
give Ottilie to me, and we shall be the happiest beings 
upon the earth." 

" If you choose to assign me so high a character," 
replied the major, "I have to be all the more strict 
and prudent. Whatever there may be in this proposal 
to make it attractive to me, instead of simplifying the 



402 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

problem, it only increases the difficulty of it The 
question is now of me as well as of you. The fortunes, 
the good name, the honour of two men, hitherto un- 
sullied with a breath, will be exposed to hazard by so 
strange a proceeding, to call it by no harsher name; 
and we shall appear before the world in a highly 
questionable light" 

" Our very characters being what they are," replied 
Edward, " give us a right to take this single liberty. 
A man who has borne himself honourably through a 
whole life makes an action honourable which might 
appear ambiguous in others. As concerns myself, 
after these last trials which I have taken upon myself, 
after the difficult and dangerous actions I have accom- 
plished for others, I now feel entitled to do something 
for myself. For you and Charlotte, that part of the 
business may, if you like, be given up ; but neither you 
nor any one shall keep me from doing what 1 have 
determined. If I may look for help and furtherance, 
I shall be ready to do all that can be wished ; but if I 
am to be left to myself, or if obstacles are to be thrown 
in my way, something extreme is sure to be the 
consequence." 

The major thought it his duty to combat Edward's 
purposes as long as it was possible, and now he 
changed the mode of his attack and tried a diversion. 
He seemed to give way, and only spoke of the form 
of what they would have to do to bring about this 
separation and these new unions ; and so mentioned 
a number of unpleasant, undesirable matters, which 
put Edward into the worst of tempers. 

" I see plainly," he cried at last, " that what we 
desire can only be carried by storm, whether it be 
from our enemies or from our friends. I keep clearly 
before my own eyes what I demand, what, one way 
or another, I must have ; and I will seize it promptly 
and surely. Connections like ours, I know very well, 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 403 

cannot be broken up and reconstructed again without 
much being thrown down which is standing, and much 
having to give way which would be glad enough to 
continue. We shall come to no conclusion by think- 
ing about it. All rights are alike to the understanding, 
and it is always easy to throw extra weight into the 
ascending scale. Do you make up your mind, my 
friend, to act, and act promptly, for me and for your- 
self. Disentangle and untie the knots, and tie them 
up again. Do not be deterred by any considerations. 
We have already given the world something to say 
about us. It will talk about us once more ; and, when 
we have ceased to be a nine days' wonder, it will 
forget us as it forgets everything else, and allow us to 
follow our own way without further concern with us." 
The major had nothing further to say, and was at last 
obliged to submit to Edward's treating the matter as 
now conclusively settled, going into detail concerning 
what had to be done, and picturing the future in the 
most cheerful manner, and even joking about it ; then 
again he went on seriously and thoughtfully, " If we 
think to leave ourselves to the hope, to the expectation, 
that all will go right again of itself, that accident will 
lead us straight, and take care of us, it will be a most 
culpable self-deception. In such a way it would be 
impossible for us to save ourselves, or reestablish our 
peace again. I who have been the innocent cause of 
it all, how am I ever to console myself ? By my own 
importunity I prevailed on Charlotte to write to you to 
stay with us, and Ottilie came in consequence of this 
change. We have had no control over what ensued 
out of this ; but we have the power to make it innocu- 
ous, to guide the new circumstances to our own 
happiness. Can you turn away your eyes from the 
fair and beautiful prospects I open to us? Can you 
insist to me, can you insist to us all, on a wretched 
renunciation of them ? Do you think it possible ? Is 



404 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



it possible ? Will there be no vexations, no bitterness, 
no inconvenience, to overcome, if we resolve to fall 
back into our old state ? and will any good, any happi- 
ness whatever, arise out of it ? Will your own rank, 
will the high position you have earned, be any pleasure 
to you, if you are to be prevented from visiting me, 
or from living with me ? And, after what has passed, 
it would not be anything but painfuL Charlotte and 
I, with all our property, would only find ourselves in 
a melancholy state. And if, like other men of the 
world, you can persuade yourself that years and sepa- 
ration will eradicate our feelings, will obliterate im- 
pressions so deeply engraved, why, it is these very 
years which it would be better to spend in happiness 
and comfort than in pain and misery. But the last 
and most important point of all which I have to urge 
is this: supposing that we, our outward and inward 
condition being what it is, could nevertheless make up 
our minds to wait at all hazards, and bear what is 
laid upon us, what is to become of Ottilie, who would 
have to leave our family and mix in society where 
we should not be to care for her, and she would be 
driven wretchedly to and fro in a hard, cold world ? 
Describe to me any situation in which Ottilie, without 
vithout us. could be happy, and you will then 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



4©S 



sented to wait before he took any steps, but only 
under the condition that his friend should not leave 
him until they had come to a perfect understanding 
about it, and until the first measures had been taken. 



CHAPTER Xm. 



People who are complete strangers and wholly 
indifferent to one another, are sure, if they live a long 
time together, to expose something of their inner 
nature; and thus a certain intimacy wiU arise. All 
the more was it to he expected that there would mm 
be no secrets between our two friends, uow that ihev 
were again under the same roof together, and in daily 
and hourly intercourse. They recalled the earlier stages 
of their history ; and the major confessed to Edward 
that Charlotte had intended Ottilie for him at the fcuoe 
at which he returned from abroad, and hoped that 
sometime or other he might marry her, Edward was 
in ecstasies at this discovery : he spoke without re- 
serve of the mutual affection of Charlotte and the 
major } which, because it happened to fall in so con- 
veniently with his own wishes, he painted in very 
lively colours* 



dlriXSdUMa 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 4°7 

joying their new relation they have formed, in a 
fresh, new world, and test the endurance of the bond 
between them in so many changing circumstances. 
The major and Charlotte were, in the meantime, to 
have unrestricted powers to settle all questions of 
money, property, and other such important worldly 
matters, and to do whatever was right and proper for 
the satisfaction of all parties. What Edward dwelt 
the most upon, however, from what he seemed to 
promise himself the most advantage, was this : as the 
child would have to remain with the mother, the 
major would charge himself with his education; he 
would train the boy according to his own views, and 
develop what capacities there might be in him. It 
was not for nothing that he had received in his baptism 
the name of Otto, which belonged to them both. 

Edward had so completely arranged everything for 
himself, that he could not wait another day to carry 
it into execution. On their way to the castle, they 
arrived at a small town, where Edward had a house, 
and where he was to stay to await the major's return. 
He could not, however, prevail upon himself to alight 
there at once, and accompanied his friend through the 
place. They were both on horseback, and, falling into 
some interesting conversation, rode on farther together. 

On a sudden they saw, in the distance, the new 
house on the height, with its red tiles shining in the 
sun. An irresistible longing came over Edward: he 
would have it all settled that very evening ; he would 
remain concealed in a village close by. The major 
was to urge the business on Charlotte with all his 
power: he would take her prudence by surprise, and 
oblige her, by the unexpectedness of his proposal, to 
make a free acknowledgment of her feelings. Edward 
had transferred his own wishes to her : he felt certain 
that he was only meeting her half-way, and that her 
inclination was as decided as his own ; and he looked 



4©S 



ELECTfVE AFFINITIES 






for an immediate consent from her, because he himself 
could think of nothing else. 

.Joyfully he saw before his eyes the happy result ; 
and, that it might be communicated to him as swiftly 
as possible, a few cannon -shots were to be fired off, or, 
if it were dark, a rocket or two to be sent up. 

The major rode to the castla He did not find 
Charlotte there* he learned, that for the present she 
was staying at the new house : at that particular time, 
however, she was paying a visit in the neighbourhood, 
and she probably would not return till late that even- 
ing. He walked back to the inn, to which he had 
previously sent his horse. 

Edward, in the meantime, unable to sit still from 
restlessness and impatience, stole away out of his con- 
cealment along solitary paths only known to foresters 
and fishermen, into his park ; and he found himself 
toward evening in the copse close to the lake, the 
broad mirror of which be now for the first time saw 
spread out in its perfectness before him* 

Ottilia bad gone out that afternoon for a walk along 
the shore. She had the child with her, and ruad as 
she usually did while she went along. She had gone 
aa far as the oak-tree by the ferry. The boy had 
fallen asleep; she sat down, laid it on the ground at 






ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 409 

his park deserted, and seeing no trace of a human 
creature anywhere round about, went on and on. At 
last he broke through the copse behind the oak-tree, 
and saw her. At the same moment she saw him. He 
rushed up to her, and threw himself at her feet. After 
a long, silent pause, in which they both endeavoured 
to collect themselves, he explained in a few words 
why and how he had come there. He had sent the 
major to Charlotte, and perhaps at that moment their 
common destiny was being decided. Never had he 
doubted her affection, and she assuredly had never 
doubted his. He begged for her consent; she hesi- 
tated ; he implored her. He offered to resume his old 
privilege, and throw his arms around her, and embrace 
her : she pointed down to the child. 

Edward looked at it, and was amazed. "Great 
God!" he cried: "if I had cause to doubt my wife 
and my friend, this face would bear fearful witness 
against them. Is not this the very image of the 
major? I never saw such a likeness." 

" Indeed ! " replied Ottilie : " all the world say it is 
like me." 

"Is it possible?" Edward answered; and at the 
moment the child opened its eyes, — two large, black, 
piercing eyes, deep, and full of love : already the little 
face was full of intelligence. He seemed to know the 
two that were standing before him. Edward threw 
himself down beside the child, and then knelt a second 
time before Ottilie. " It is you," he cried : " the eyes 
are yours! ah, but let me look into yours! let me 
throw a veil over that ill-starred hour which gave its 
being to this little creature. Shall I shock your pure 
spirit with the fearful thought that man and wife who 
are estranged from each other can yet press each other 
to their heart, and profane the bonds by which the 
law unites them by other eager wishes? Oh, yes! 
As I have said so much ; as my connection with Char- 



4io 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



lotte must now be severed ; as you will be mine, — 
why should I not speak out the words to you ? This 
child is the offspring of a double adultery. It should 
have been a tie between my wife and myself ; but it 
severs her from me, and me from hen Let it witness, 
then, against me. Let these fair eyes say to yours, 
that in the arms of another I belonged to you* You 
must feel, Ottilie, oh! you must fed* that my fault, 
my crime, I can only expiate in your arms." 

" Hark I " he called out, springing to his feet, and 
thin king he had heard the report of a gun, and that it 
was the sign the major was to give. It was the gun 
of a forester on the adjoining hilL Nothing followed 
Edward grew impatient. 

Ottilie now first observed that the sun was down 
behind the mountains: its last rays were shining on 
the windows of the house above. ** Leave me, Ed- 
ward" she cried : * go. Long as we have been parted t 
much as we have borne, yet remember what we both 
owe to Charlotte. She must decide our fate : do not 
let us anticipate her judgment. I am yours if she will 
permit it to be so : if not, I must renounce you* As 
you think it is now so near an issue, let us wait Go 
back to the village, where the major supposes you to 
he. Is it likely that a rude cannon-shot will inform 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 4" 

" I obey your commands," cried Edward. He gazed 
at her for a moment with rapturous love, and then 
caught her close in his arms. She wound her own 
about him, and pressed him tenderly to her breast. 
Hope rushed off, like a star shooting along the sky 
over their heads. They then thought, they believed, 
that they did indeed belong to one another. For the 
first time they exchanged free, unrestrained kisses, and 
separated with pain and effort. 

The sun had gone down. It was twilight, and a 
damp mist was rising about the lake. Ottilie stood 
confused and agitated. She looked across to the house 
on the hill, and thought she saw Charlotte's white 
dress on the balcony. It was a long way round by 
the end of the lake, and she knew how impatiently 
Charlotte would be waiting for the child. She saw 
the plane-trees just opposite her, and only a narrow 
interval of water divided her from the path which led 
straight up to the house. Her nervousness about ven- 
turing on the water with the child vanished in her pres- 
ent embarrassment. She hastened to the boat : she did 
not feel that her heart was throbbing, that her feet were 
tottering, that her senses were threatening to fail her. 

She jumped in, seized the oar, and pushed off. She 
had to use force: she pushed again. The boat shot 
off, and glided, swaying and rocking, into the open 
water. With the child on her left arm, the book in 
her left hand, and the oar in her right, she lost her 
footing, and fell over the seat: the oar slipped from 
her on one side; and, as she tried to recover herself, 
the child and the book slipped on the other, all into 
the water. She caught the floating dress; but, lying 
entangled as she was herself, she was unable to rise. 
Her right hand was free, but she could not reach 
round to help herself up with it: at last she suc- 
ceeded. She drew the child out of the water ; but its 
eyes were closed, and it had ceased to breathe. 



412 



ELECTtVE AFFINITIES 



Id a moment she recovered all her self-possession, 

hul so much the greater was her agony : the boat was 
(1 riving fast into the middle of the lake, the oar was 
swimming far away from her. She aaw no one on the 
shore ; and, indeed, if she had, it would have been of 
no service to her* Cut off from all assistance, she was 
floating on the faithless, unstable element. 

She sought help from herself* she had often heard 
of the recovery of the drowned ; she had herself wit- 
nessed an instance of it on the evening of ber birth- 
day ; she took off the child's clothes, and dried it with 
her muslin dress. She threw open her bosom, laying 
it bare for the first time to the open sky. For the 
first time she pressed a living being to her pure, naked 
breast Alas ! and it was not a living being. The 
cold limbs of the ill-starred little creature chilled her 
to the heart. Streams of tears gushed from her eyes, 
and lent a show of life and warmth to the outside of 
the torpid limbs. She persevered with her efforts, 
wrapped the child in her shawl, drew him close to her, 
stroked him, breathed on him, and with tears and 
kisses laboured to supply the help which, cut off as 
she was, she was unable to find 

It was all in vain ; the child lay motionless in her 
arms, motionless the boat floated on the glassy water. 












Q lilT 










fwtnufeifije bf mmy fjr* «*»i h»* 








1 


ran Jilt Ml 


Qmtog m lb* (aitiikw. uaH 




She **4gta fad] 




ill thm iwo»m- 




ju>* of 




4i* ux>k ^^^^^H 





Ac pf«m^l » living Urii 
Akn! «jm1 it. was I 
•*iM litir I] ftUirr^i) little ct** 

Ufe ind w*m*»li io the 
tfc» <*•* Shi5 permvig* 

wmmm * *5W in her fehu* I 

rr^tbml on hitn, uid wi 
apply Lb* 
rta 9 ohd wai una Me to : 
vaa ait in vain: tho child Jay BMrtiouhw 










Iii * itiuiDr • ivJ ail bar 

driving feat into tike 

teung far aw 
ihtmv, aiid, in-trwL, tf ftli> 
no lerrioe to bar 
floating oo tli* riitltfeoKt untf « 
3fa sought fielp ftum ban* 

aaaaed mi inkUmce ot 

day; ah* (111 <»«, tl 

ban fuQalin Irasi 

hi iii© fim tniM- ti. 
tim tiro* the pra«<*i a Hiring 
hnut Aliu* * and it wu i 
ooM limb* of ifcft ilVrtar 
*o the heart. SIMM Of Uatt gUfhtid 

uJm* 'iilua Sliw per*. 

i iit-f ahas 
**okad hij, bmatiitd oo him <wd 
UUmred la tap-ply the belt 
M- wu n&ftbl* to Iii 

• vii m: tha child lay tool 
rtle* the bams 



4l4 *Vc. 









CHAPTER XIV. 

She hurried to the new house, and called the sur- 
geon, and gave the child into his hands. It was at 
once carried to Charlotte's bedroom. Cool and collected 
from a wide experience, he submitted the tender body 
to the usual process. Ottilie aided him through it all 
She prepared everything, fetched everything, but as if 
she were moving in another world ; for the height of 
misfortune, like the height of happiness, alters the 
aspect of every object. And it was only when, after 
every resource had been exhausted, the good man 
shook his head, and, to her questions whether there 
was hope, first was silent, and then softly answered 
No! that she left the apartment, and had scarcely 
entered the sitting-room, when she fell fainting, with 
her face upon the carpet, unable to reach the sofa. 

At that moment Charlotte was heard driving up. 
The surgeon implored the servants to keep back, and 
allow him to go to meet her and prepare her. But he 
was too late : while he was speaking, she had entered 
the drawing-room. She found Ottilie on the ground, 
and one of the girls of the house came running and 
screaming to her open-mouthed. The surgeon entered 
at the same moment, and she was informed of every- 
thing. She could not at once, however, give up all 
hope. She was rushing up-stairs to the child, but the 
physician besought her to remain where she was. He 
went himself, to deceive her with a show of fresh ex- 
ertions ; and she sat down upon the sofa. Ottilie was 

413 



414 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



still lying on the ground ; Charlotte raised her, and 
supported her against herself; and her beautiful head 
sank down upon her knee. Her medical friend went 
to and fro ; lie appeared to be busy about the child ; 
his real care was for the ladies: and so came on 
midnight, and the stillness of death grew deeper and 
deeper. Charlotte did not try to conceal from herself 
any longer that her child would never retain l*> life 
again. She desired to see it now. It had been 
wrapped up in warm woollen coverings And it 
was brought down as it was, lying is its cot, 
which was placed at her aide on the sofa. The little 
face was uncovered ; and there it lay in its calm, sweet 
beauty. 

The repoTt of the accident soon spread through the 
village: every one was roused, and the story reached 
the hotel The major hurried up the well-known 
road ; he went round and round the house ; at last he 
met a servant who was going to one of the out- 
buildings to fetch something. He learned from him 
the state of things, and desired him to tell the surgeon 
that he was there. The latter came out, not a little 
surprised at the appearance of his old patron. He told 
him exactly what had happened, aod undertook to pre- 
pare Charlotte to see him. He then went in, began 









„_i^- A. 



J __ 1 _JJ-^ A-l^—. 






ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 415 

him, not without a secret shudder, the stiffened image 
of himself. Charlotte pointed to a chair; and there 
they sat opposite to one another, without speaking, 
through the night. Ottilie was still lying motionless 
on Charlotte's knee : she breathed softly, and slept, or 
seemed to sleep. 

The morning dawned, the lights went out : the two 
friends appeared to awake out of a heavy dream. 
Charlotte looked toward the major, and said quietly, 
" Tell me through what circumstances you have been 
brought hither, to take part in this mournful scene." 

" The present is not a time," the major answered, in 
the same low tone as that in which Charlotte had 
spoken, for fear lest she might disturb Ottilie, " this is 
not a time, and this is not a place, for reserve. The 
condition in which I find you is so fearful that 
even the earnest matter on which I am here loses 
its importance by the side of it." He then informed 
her, quite calmly and simply, of the object of his mis- 
sion in so far as he was the ambassador of Edward, of 
the object of his coming in so far as his own free will 
and his own interests were concerned in it. He laid 
both before her delicately but uprightly: Charlotte 
listened quietly, and showed neither surprise nor un- 
willingness. 

As soon as the major had finished, she replied, in so 
low a voice, that, to catch her words, he was obliged to 
draw his chair closer to her, " In such a case as this I 
have never before found myself; but in similar cases 
I have always said to myself, ' How will it be to- 
morrow V I am fully aware that the fate of many 
persons is now in my hands, and what I have to do is 
soon said without scruple or hesitation. I consent to 
the separation; I ought to have made up my mind 
to it before: by my unwillingness and reluctance 
I have destroyed my child. There are certain things 
on which destiny obstinately insists. In vain may rea- 



4i'j 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



son, virtue, duty, every sacred feeling, place themselves 
iu iu way. Something shall be done which to it 
seems good, and which to us seems not good ; and it 
forces its own way through at last, let us conduct our- 
selves as we w^ilL 

" But what am I saying ? It is hut tuy own 
desire, my own purpose, against which I acted so 
unthinkingly, which destiny is again bringing in my 
way. Did 1 not long ago, iu my thoughts, design 
Edward and Ottilie for one another ? Did t not 
myself labour to bring them together ? And you, my 
Mend, you yourself were an accomplice in ruy 
Why, why could I not distinguish mere man's obsti- 
nacy from real love ? Why did I accept his hand, 
when 1 could have made him happy as a friend, and 
when another could have made him happy as a wife ? 
And now look here on this unhappy slum barer. I 
tremble at the moment when she will wake from her 
deathlike sleep into consciousness. How can sbe 
endure to live ? How shall she ever console herself, if 
she may not hope to make good that to Edward of 
which, as the instrument of the most wonderful des- 
tiny, she has deprived him ? And she can make it all 
good again by the passion, by the devotion, with which 
she loves him. If love be able to be*l all things, tt 









ihla fr* Hn <**a^ 



»ti tk: n .n 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 417 

whispered gently, "And for myself, may I hope 
anything ? " 

" Do not ask me now," replied Charlotte. " I will 
tell you another time. We have not deserved to be 
miserable, but neither can we say that we have de- 
served to be happy together." 

The major left her, and went, feeling for Charlotte 
to the bottom of his heart, but not being able to be 
sorry for the fate of the poor child. Such an offering 
seemed necessary to him for their general happiness. 
He pictured Ottihe to himself with a child of her own in 
her arms, as the most perfect compensation for the one 
of which she had deprived Edward. He pictured him- 
self with his own son on his knee, who should have 
better right to resemble him than the one which was 
departed. 

With such flattering hopes and fancies passing 
through his mind, he returned to the inn ; and, on his 
way back, he met Edward, who had been waiting for 
him the whole night through in the open air, since 
neither rocket nor report of cannon would bring him 
news of the successful issue of his undertaking. He 
had already heard of the misfortune ; and he too, in- 
stead of being sorry for the poor thing, regarded what 
had befallen it, without being exactly ready to confess 
it to himself, as a convenient accident, through which 
the only impediment in the way of his happiness was 
at once removed. 

The major at once informed him of his wife's reso- 
lution ; and he therefore easily allowed himself to be 
prevailed upon to return again with him to the village, 
and from thence to go for awhile to the little town, 
where they would consider what was next to be done, 
and make their arrangements. 

After the major had left her, Charlotte sat on, buried 
in her own reflections; but it was only for a few 
minutes. Ottilie suddenly raised herself from her lap, 



4iS ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

and looked full, with her large eyes, in her fraud 'i 
face. Then she got up from the ground, and 
upright before her* 

u This is the second time/' began the noble girl with 
an irresistible solemnity of maimer, ■ thie is the second 
time the same thing baa happened to ma You one* 
said to me that things of the same kind often happen 
to people in their lives hi the same kind of way ; and, 
if they do, it is always at important momenta, I now 
fiud that what you said is true, and I have to make 4 
confession to you. Shortly after my mother's death, 
when I was a very little child, I was sitting one day 
on a footstool, close to you* You were on the sofa, a* 
you are at this moment ; and my head rested on your 
knees. I was not asleep, I was not awake : 1 was in a 
trance. I knew everything which was passing about 
me. I heard every word which was said, with the 
greatest distinctness : and yet I could not stir, I could 
not speak ; and, if I had wished it, I could not have 
given a hint that I was conscious. On that occasion 
you were speaking about me to one of your friends; 
you were commiserating my fate, left, as 1 was, a poor 
orphan in the world. You described my dependant 
position, and how unfortunate a future was before me, 
unless some very happy star watched over nm I 






ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 419 

than the first. While lying in a half-torpor on your lap, 
I have again, as if out of another world, heard every 
syllable which you uttered. I know from you how all 
is with me. The thought of myself makes me shudder ; 
but again, as I did then, in my half-sleep of death, I 
have marked out my new path for myself. 

" I am determined, as I was before ; and what I have 
determined I must tell you at once. I will never be 
Edward's wife. In a terrible manner God has opened 
my eyes to see the sin in which I was entangled. I 
will atone for it, and let no one think to move me 
from my purposa It is by this, my dearest, kindest 
friend, that you must govern your own conduct. Send 
for the major to come back to you. Write to him 
that no steps must be taken. It made me miserable 
that I could not stir or speak when he went : I tried 
to rise, I tried to cry out. Oh, why did you let him 
go from you with such sinful hopes ! " 

Charlotte saw Ottilie's condition, and she felt for it ; 
but she hoped, that, by time and persuasion, she might 
be able to prevail upon her. On her uttering a few 
words, however, which pointed to a future, to a time 
when her sufferings would be alleviated, and when there 
might be better room for hope, " No ! " Ottilie cried 
with vehemence, " do not endeavour to move me : do 
not seek to deceive me. At the moment at which I 
learn that you have consented to the separation, I will 
expiate my trespass, my crime, in that same lake." 



CHAPTER XV. 

Fbiknds and relations, and all persons living together 
in the same bouse, are apt, when life is going smooth]) 
and peacefully with them, to make what they are 
doing, or what they are going to do, even more than 
is right or necessary, a subject of constant conversation. 
They talk to each other of their plans and their occu- 
pations, and, without exactly taking one another's 
advice, consider and discuss together the entire prog- 
ress of their lives. But this is far from being the 
case in serious momenta : just when it would ©eem 
men most require the assistance and support of other*, 
every one withdraws singly within tin n drives, every 
one to act for himself, every one to work in lm own 
fashion ; they conceal from one another the particular 
means they employ; and only the result, the object. 
the thing they realise is again made common proiiert) 

After so many strange and unfortunate incidents. 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 421 

preceded the accident, and had gathered every circum- 
stance of it, partly from Ottilie herself, partly from 
the letters of the major. 

Ottilie, on her side, made Charlotte's immediate life 
much more easy for her. She was open and even 
talkative; but she never spoke of the present, or of 
what had lately passed. She had been a close and 
thoughtful observer. She knew much, and now it all 
came to the surface. She entertained, she amused, 
Charlotte; and the latter still nourished a hope in 
secret to see her married to Edward after all. 

But something very different was passing in Ottilia 
She had disclosed the secret of the course of her life 
to her friend, and she showed no more of her previous 
restraint and submissiveness. By her repentance and 
resolution she felt herself freed from the burden of her 
fault and her misfortune. She had no more violence 
to do to herself. In the bottom of her heart she had 
forgiven herself solely under condition of the fullest 
renunciation, and it was a condition which would 
remain binding for all time to come. 

So passed away some time ; and Charlotte now felt 
how much house and park, and lake and rocks and trees, 
served to keep alive in them all their most painful 
reminiscences. That change of scene was necessary was 
plain enough, but how it was to be effected was not so 
easy to decide. 

Were the two ladies to remain together ? Edward's 
previously expressed will appeared to enjoin it, his 
declarations and his threats appeared to make it neces- 
sary : only it could not be now mistaken that Charlotte 
and Ottilie, with all their good-will, with all their 
sense, with all their efforts to conceal it, could not 
avoid finding themselves in a painful situation toward 
one another. Their conversation was guarded. They 
were often obliged only half to understand some allu- 
sion: more often, expressions were misinterpreted, if 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



by their undemanding*, at anr rate by their feel* 
They wen afraid la give pain to one another, 
and this vwy tar itself prodnoed the evol which thtj 
were seeking to aTiid- 

If they were to try change of scene, and at the 
time (as may rate for awhile) to part, the old 
came up again, Whet* wa* Ottibe to go I There wi# 
the grands rich family, who still wanted a dumsblt 
companion for their daughter, their attempts to find a 
person whom they eould trust having hitherto prowl 
ineffectual Already during her last sojourn at the 
castle, the baroness had urged Charlotte to send Ottttie 
there, and lately again in her letters. Charlotte now 
a second time proposed it ; hat Ottilie expressly declined 
going anywhere, where she would be thrown into what 
is called the great world. 

■ Do not think me narrow or self-willed, my dear 
aut, n she said : * let me otter what, in any other 
it would lie my duty to conceal A person who 
fallen into uncommon misfortunes, however guili 
he may be, carries a frightful mark upon him. 
presence, in every one who sees him and is aware el 
his history, excites a kind of horror. People aw in 
him the terrible fate which has been laid upon him. 
and be is the object of a diseased and nervous curiosity. 

It i« «n with it tutu** it t* ao with a fnwn aetwn* mtr 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 423 

• 

ture, when she was so frightened and tried to escape, 
and then sank and swooned away, and I caught her 
in my arms, and the party came all crowding round in 
terror and curiosity, — little did I think, then, that the 
same fate was in store for me. But my feeling for 
her is as deep and warm and fresh as ever it was ; and 
now I may direct my compassion upon myself, and 
secure myself from being the object of any similar 
exposure." 

" But, my dear child," answered Charlotte, " you will 
never be able to withdraw yourself where no one can 
see you: we have no cloisters now; otherwise, there, 
with your present feelings, would be your resource." 

" Solitude would not give me the resource for which 
I wish, my dear aunt," answered Ottilia "The one 
true and valuable resource is to be looked for where 
we can be active and useful : all the self-denials and 
all the penances on earth will fail to deliver us from 
an evil-omened destiny if it be determined to persecute 
us. Let me sit still in idleness, and serve as a specta- 
cle for the world, and it will overpower and crush me. 
But find me some peaceful employment, where I can 
go steadily and unweariedly on doing my duty, and I 
shall be able to bear the eyes of men when I need not 
shrink under the eyes of God." 

"Unless I am much mistaken," replied Charlotte, 
a your inclination is, to return to the school/' 

"Yes," Ottilie answered: "I do not deny it. I 
think it a happy destination to train up others in the 
beaten way, after having been trained in the strangest 
myself. And do we not see the same great fact in 
history? Some moral calamity drives men out into 
the wilderness; but they are not allowed to remain, 
as they had hoped, in their concealment there. They 
are summoned back into the world, to lead the Wan- 
derers into the right way ; and who are fitter for such 
a service than those who have been initiated into the 



424 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



'will 
*for 



labyrinths of life? They are commanded to be the 
support of the unfortunate; and who can better fuMl 
that command than those who have no more misfor- 
tunes to fear upon earth ? " 

" You are selecting an uncommon profession for 
yourself," replied Charlotte, ■*! shall not oppose yen, 
however. Let it be as you wish, only I hope it 
be but for a short time." 

" Most warmly do I thank you, 11 said Ottilie, 
giving me leave to try to gain this experiment. If I 
am not flattering myaelf too highly, I am sure I 
succeed : wherever I am, I shall remember the ma 
trials which I went through myself, and how am 
how infinitely small, they were compared to those 
I afterward had to undergo. It will he my happi 
to watch the embarrassments of the little QlQOlWei 
they grow ; to cheer them in their child! all aorro 
and guide them back, with a light hand, out of thr 
little aberrations. The fortunate is not the person 
be of help to the fortunate : it is in the nature of mai 
to require ever more and more of himself and others 
the more he has received. The unfortunate only 
recover, while knowing, from their affliction, ho* to 
foster, both in themselves and others, the fueling that 
every moderate good ought to he enjoyed with 
fcni*" 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 4*5 

his business if he loses you: you will have assisted 
him at the beginning, only to injure him in the end." 

"Destiny has not dealt with me gently," replied 
Ottilie ; " and whoever loves me has, perhaps, not much 
better to expect. Our Mend is so good and so sensible, 
that I hope he will be able to reconcile himself to 
remaining in a simple relation with me : he will learn 
to see in me a consecrated person, lying under the 
shadow of an awful calamity, and only able to support 
herself, and bear up against it, by devoting herself to 
that Holy Being who is invisibly around us, and alone 
is able to shield us from the dark powers which 
threaten to overwhelm us." 

Charlotte privately reflected on all the dear girl 
had so warmly uttered: on many different occasions, 
although only in the gentlest manner, she had hinted 
at the possibility of Ottilie's being brought again ih 
contact with Edward ; but the slightest mention of it, 
the faintest hope, the least suspicion, seemed to wound 
Ottilie to the quick. One day, when she could not 
evade it, she expressed herself to Charlotte clearly on 
the subject. 

"If your resolution to renounce Edward," returned 
Charlotte, "is so firm and unalterable, then you had 
better avoid the danger of seeing him again. At a 
distance from the object of our love, the warmer our 
affection, the stronger is the control which we fancy 
that we can exercise on ourselves ; because the whole 
force of the passion, diverted from its outward objects, 
turns inwaid on ourselves. But how soon, how 
swiftly is our mistake made plain to us, when the 
thing we thought we could renounce stands again 
before our eyes as indispensable to us! You must 
now do what you consider best suited to your circum- 
stances. Look well into yourself: change, if you 
prefer it, the resolution which you have just expressed. 
But do it of yourself, with a free-consenting heart 



4 20 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Do not allow yourself to be drawn in by an accident * 
do not let your selt" be surprised into your former jwjsi* 
tion. It will place you at issue with yourself, and 
will be intolerable to you. As I said, before you take 
i his step, before you remove from me, and enter upon 
a new life, which will lead you no one knows in what 
direction, consider once more whether really , indeed, 
you can renounce Edward for the whole time to coma 
If you have faithfully made up your mind that you 
will do this, then will you enter into an engagement 
with me, that you will never admit him into your 
presence, and, if he seeks yon out, and forces himself 
upon you, that you will not exchange words with 
him?" 

Ottilie did not hesitate a moment- she gave Char- 
lotte the promise, which she had already made to 
herself. 

Now, however, Charlotte began to be haunted with 
Edward's threat, that he would only consent to re- 
nounce Ottilie as long as she was not parted from 
Charlotte. Since that time, indeed, circumstances 
were so altered, so many things had happened, that 
an engagement which was wrung from him in u 
moment of excitement might well be supposed to 
have beeu cancelled. She was unwilling, howevtT, 
in the remotest sense, to venture anything, or to 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 427 

of passing time ; he hoped that it might still be pos- ' 
sible to keep the husband and the wife from separat- 
ing ; and he tried to regard these convulsions of passion 
only as trials of wedded love and fidelity. 

Charlotte, at the very first, had informed the major 
by letter of Ottilie's declaration. She had entreated 
him most earnestly to prevail on Edward to take no 
further steps for the present. They should keep quiet, 
and wait, and see whether the poor girl would recover 
her spirits. She had let him know from time to time 
whatever was necessary of what had more lately fallen 
from her. And now Mittler had to undertake the 
really difficult commission of preparing Edward for 
an alteration in her situation. Mittler, however, well 
knowing that men can be brought more easily to 
submit to what is already done than to give their con- 
sent to what is yet to be done, persuaded Charlotte 
that it would be better to send Ottilie off at once to 
the school. 

Consequently, as soon as Mittler was gone, prepara- 
tions were at once made for the journey. Ottilie put 
her things together ; and Charlotte observed that neither 
the beautiful box, nor anything out of it, was to go 
with her. Ottilie had said nothing to her on the 
subject; and she took no notice, but let her alone. 
The day of departure came : Charlotte's carriage was 
to take Ottilie the first day as far as a place where 
they were well known, where she was to pass the 
night; and on the second she would go on in it to 
the school. It was settled that Nanny was to accom- 
pany her, and remain as her attendant. 

This capricious little creature had found her way 
back to her mistress after the death of the child, and 
now hung about her as warmly and passionately as 
ever: indeed, she seemed, with her loquacity and at- 
tentiveness, as if she wished to make good her past 
neglect, and henceforth devote herself entirely to 



4»8 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



Ottilie's service. She was quite beside herself now 
for joy at the thought of travelling with her, and of 
seeing strange places, when she had hitherto never 
been away from the scene of her birth; and she ran 
from the castle to the village to carry the news of 
her good fortune to her parents and her relations, and 
to take leave. Unluckily for herself , she went among 
other places into a room where a person was who had 
the measles, and caught the infection, which came out 
upon her at once. The journey could not be post- 
poned, Ottilie herself was urgent to go. She had 
travelled once already the same road. She knew the 
people of the hotel where she was to sleep. The 
coachman from the castle was going with her* There 
could be nothing to fear. 

Charlotte made no opposition. She, too, in thought, 
was making haste to be clear of present embarrass* 
merits. The rooms Ottilie had occupied at the castle 
she would have prepared for Edward as soon as pos- 
sible, and restored to the state in which they had been 
before the arrival of the captain. The hope of bring- 
ing back old happy days bums up again and again m 
us, as if it never could be extinguished. And Char* 
lotte was quite right : there was nothing else for her, 
except to hope as she did. 









CHAPTER XVI. 

When Mittler was come to talk with Edward about 
the matter, he found him sitting by himself, with his 
head supported on his right hand, and his arm resting 
on the table. He appeared in great suffering. 

"Is your headache troubling you again?" asked 
Mittler. 

" It is troubling me," answered he ; " and yet I can- 
not wish it were not so, for it reminds me of Ottilia 
She, too, I say to myself, is also suffering in the same 
way at this same moment, and suffering more perhaps 
than I; and why cannot I bear it as well as she? 
These pains are good for me. I might almost say that 
they were welcome ; for they serve to bring out before 
me, with the greater vividness, her patience and all her 
other graces. It is only when we suffer ourselves, that 
we feel really the true nature of all the high qualities 
which are required to bear suffering." 

Mittler, finding his friend so far resigned, did not 
hesitate to communicate the message with which he 
had been sent. He brought it out piecemeal, however, 
in order of time, as the idea had itself arisen between 
the ladies, and had gradually ripened into a purpose. 
Edward scarcely made an objection. From the little 
which he said, it appeared as if he was willing to leave 
everything to them ; the pain which he was suffering 
at the moment making him indifferent to all besides. 

Scarcely, however, was he again alone, than he got 
up and walked rapidly up and down the room : he for- 
got his pain, his attention now turning to what was 

429 




ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



external to himself. Hfrtkrt story had stirred the 
embers of his love, and awakened hi* imagination m 
all its vividness. He aw Omb by bewelf, or a* | 
as by herself, travelling cm a road which wms 
known to turn, — in a hotel with every room nf wt 
he was familiar. He thought, he considered, or rathe 
he neither thought nor considered: be only wished, I 
only desired. He would see her : be would speak to 
her. Why, or for what good end that was to come of 
it, he did not care to ask himself ; but he made up I 
mind at once. He most do iL 

He summoned his valet into his council, and 
him he made himself acquainted with the day 
hour when Ottihe was to set oak The morning broil 
Without taking any person with him, Edward mount 
bis horse, and rode off to the place where she was 
pass the night He was there too soon* The be 
was overjoyed at the sight of him: she m 
heavy obligations to him for a service which he 
been able to do for her. Her son had been in the army, 
where he had conducted himself with remarkable 
lantry. He had performed one particular action 
which no one had been a witness but Edward; and the 
latter had spoken of it to the Gomnmnder-in-chiel in 
terms of such high praise, that, notwithstanding the 
opposition of various ill-wishers, he had obtained 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 431 

till evening ? He examined the room round and round 
in which he was to see her : with all its strangeness 
and homeliness it seemed to him to be an abode for 
angels. He again and again turned over in his mind 
what he had better do; was he to take her by surprise, 
or whether to prepare her for meeting him. At last 
the second course seemed the preferable one. He sat 
down and wrote a letter, which she was to read. 

EDWARD TO OTTILIE. 

" While you read this letter, my best beloved, I am 
close to you. Do not agitate yourself; do not be 
alarmed : you have nothing to fear from me. I will not 
force myself upon you. I will see you or not, as you 
yourself shall choose. 

"Consider, oh consider, your condition and mine! 
How much I thank you, that you have taken no de- 
cisive step! But the step which you have taken is 
important enough. Do not persist in it. Here, as it 
were, at a parting of the ways, reflect once again. Can 
you be mine ? Will you be mine ? Oh, you will be 
showing mercy on us all if you will ; and on me infi- 
nite mercy ! 

" Let me see you again ! — happily, joyfully see you 
once more ! Let me make my request to you with my 
own lips ; and do you give me your answer your own 
beautiful self, on my breast, Ottilie, where you have so 
often rested, and which belongs to you for ever ! " 

As he was writing, the feeling rushed over him that 
what he was longing for was coming, was close, would 
be there almost immediately. By that door she would 
come in ; she would read that letter ; she, in her own 
person, would stand there before him as she used to 
stand, — she, for whose appearance he had thirsted so 
long. Would she be the same as she was ? Was her 



43 * ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

form, were her feelings, changed ? He still held the 
pen in his hand : he was going to write, as he thought, 
when the carriage rolled into the court* With n fVw 
hurried strokes he added, w I hear you coming. For a 
moment, farewell ! " 

He folded the letter, and directed it. He had mi 
time for sealing. He darted into the room, through 
which there was a second outlet into the gallery ; when 
the next moment he recollected that he had left hi* 
watch and seals lying on the table. She must not so** 
these first. He ran hack and brought them away with 
him. At the same instant he heard the hostess in tbc 
antechamber showing Ottilie the way to her apart- 
ments. He hastened to the bedroom-door, hut it had 
suddenly shut In his hurry, as he had coiue hack 
for his watch, he had forgotten to take out the key, 
which had fallen out, and was lying inside. The door 
had closed with a spring, and he could not open it 
He pushed at it with all his might, but it would not 
yield. Oh, how gladly would he have been a spirit, to 
escape through its cracks ! In vain. He hid hU 
face against the panels, Ottilie entered ; and tho host- 
ess, seeing bim, retired. From Ottilie herself, tooi, he 
could not remain concealed for a moment. He turned 
toward her; aod there stood the lovers once more, in 
such strange fashion, in one another's presence. She 






ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 433 

She looked down at the letter ; and, after thinking 
a few seconds, took it up, opened and read it. She 
finished it without a change of expression, and she 
gently laid it aside ; then, pressing together the palms 
of her hands, raising them, and drawing them against 
her breast, she leaned her body a little forward, and 
regarded Edward with such a look, that, urgent as he 
was, he was compelled to renounce everything he 
wished or desired of her. Such an attitude cut him to 
the heart : he could not bear it. It seemed exactly as 
if she would fall upon her knees before him, if he per- 
sisted. He hurried in despair out of the room, and, 
leaving her alone, sent the hostess in to her. 

He walked up and down the antechamber. Night 
had come on, and there was no sound in the room. 
At last the hostess came out, and drew the key out of 
the lock. The good woman was embarrassed and agi- 
tated, not knowing what it would be proper for her to do. 
At last, as she turned to go, she offered the key to Ed- 
ward, who refused it; and, putting down the candle, 
she went away. 

In misery and wretchedness, Edward flung himself 
down on the threshold of the door which divided him 
from Ottilie, moistening it with his tears as he lay. 
A more unhappy night had been seldom passed by two 
lovers in such close neighbourhood. 

Day came at last. The coachman brought round 
the carriage ; and the hostess unlocked the door, and 
went in. Ottilie was asleep in her clothes : she went 
back, and beckoned to Edward with a significant smile. 
They both entered, and stood before her as she lay ; 
but the sight was too much for Edward. He could not 
bear it. She was sleeping so quietly that the hostess 
did not like to disturb her, but sat down opposite her, 
waiting till she woke. At last Ottilie opened her beauti- 
ful eyes, and raised herself on her feet. She declined 
taking any breakfast ; and then Edward went in again, 




AFFINITIES 



and stood before her. He entreated her to speak bat 
one word to him, to tell him what she desired. He 
would do it, be it what it would, he swore to her f hut 
she remained silent. He asked her once mora, passion- 
ately and tenderly, whether she would be Mai With 
downcast eyes, and with the deepest tenderness of 
manner, she shook her head to a gentle " Na w He 
asked if she still desired to go to the school. With* 
out any show of feeling, she declined* Would she, 
then, go back to Charlotte ? She inclined her head 
in token of assent, with a look of comfort and relie 
He went to the window to give directions to 
coachman ; and, when his back was turned, she da 
like lightning out of the room, and was down f 
stairs and in the carriage in an instant. The coachi 
drove back along the road which he had come the 
before, and Edward followed at some distance on he 
back. 



CHAPTEK XVIL 

It was with the utmost surprise that Charlotte saw 
the carriage drive up with Ottilie, and Edward at the 
same moment ride into the courtyard of the castle. 
She ran down to the halL Ottilie alighted, and ap- 
proached her and Edward. Violently and eagerly she 
seized the hands of the wife and husband, pressed them 
together, and hurried off to her own room. Edward 
threw himself on Charlotte's neck, and burst into tears. 
He could not give her any explanation: he besought 
her to have patience with him, and to go at once to 
see Ottilie. Charlotte followed her to her room, and 
she could not enter it without a shudder. It had been 
all cleared out. There was nothing to be seen but the 
empty walls, which stood there looking cheerless, 
vacant, and miserable. Everything had been carried 
away except the little box, which, from an uncertainty 
what was to be done with it, had been left in the mid- 
dle of the room. Ottilie was lying stretched upon the 
ground, her arm and head leaning across the cover. 
Charlotte bent anxiously over her, and asked what had 
happened ; but she received no answer. 

Her maid had come with restoratives. Charlotte 
left her with Ottilie, and herself hastened back to 
Edward. She found him in the saloon, but he could 
tell her nothing. He threw himself down before her, 
bathed her hands with tears, then fled to his own 
room : she was going to follow him thither, when she 
met his valet. From this man she gathered as much 
as he was able to telL The rest she put together in her 

435 



43* 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 




own thoughts aa mil a* the coo Id, and then at i 
set herself resolutely to do what the exigencies of the 
moment requital Ottilias room was put to rights 
again as quickly as possible: Edward found his, to the 
last paper, exactly as he had left it 

The three appeared again to fall into aome soft of 
relation with one Another Bat Ottilie perseremi i& 
her silence, and Edward could do nothing except eo* 
treat his wife to exert a patience which seemed want- 
ing to himself. Charlotte sent messengers La Mi trier 
and to the major. The former wa^ absent from home, 
and could not be found The latter came. To him 
Edward poured oat all his heart, confessing every incut 
trifling circumstance to him; and thus Charlotte 
learned hilly what had passed, what had produced such 
violent excitement, and how so strange an alteration of 
their mutual position had been brought about. 

She spoke with the utmost tenderness to her hit* 
band She had nothing to ask of him except that for 
the present he would leave the poor girl to liersaut 
Edward was not insensible to the worth, the affection, 
the strong sense of bis wife ; but his passion absorbed 
him exclusively, Charlotte tried to cheer him with 
hopes. She promised that she herself would mak 
difficulties about the separation, but it had small effect 

nrtf.k him H». waa a/% rrmnti ohalrati ttiat knru anJ 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 437 

doing so found a sort of comfort for themselves in the 
sense that at least something was being done. 

In the meantime they had to notice that Ottilie took 
scarcely anything to eat or drink. She still persisted 
in refusing to speak. They at first used to talk to her ; 
but it appeared to distress her, and they left it off. 
We are not, universally at least, so weak as to persist 
in torturing people for their good. Charlotte thought 
of all possible remedies. At last she fancied it might 
be well to ask the assistant of the school to come to 
them. He had much influence with Ottilie, and had 
been writing with much anxiety to inquire the cause of 
her not having arrived at the time he had been expect- 
ing her ; but as yet she had not sent him any answer. 

In order not to take Ottilie by surprise, they spoke 
of their intention in her presence. It did not seem to 
please her: she thought for some little time; at last 
she appeared to have formed some resolution. She 
retired to her own room, and ere night sent the fol- 
lowing letter to the assembled party : 

"OTTILIE TO HER FRIENDS. 

"Why need I express in words, my dear friends, 
what is in itself so plain ? I have stepped out of my 
course, and I cannot recover it again. A malignant 
spirit which has gained power over me seems to hinder 
me from without, even if within I could again become 
at peace with myself. 

" My sole purpose was to renounce Edward, and to 
separate myself from him for ever. I had hoped that 
we might never meet again : it has turned out other- 
wise. Against his own will he stood before me. Too 
literally, perhaps, I have observed my promise never to 
admit him into conversation with me. My conscience 
and the feelings of the moment kept me silent toward 
him at the time, and now I have nothing more to say. 



438 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

I have taken upon myself, under the impulse of the 
moment, a difficult vow, which, if it had been formed 
deliberately, might perhaps be painful and distressing. 
Let me now persist in the observance of it as long as 
my heart shall enjoin it to me. Do not call in any one 
to mediate; do not insist upon my speaking; do not 
urge me to eat or to drink more than I absolutely must 
Bear with me and let me alone, and so help me on 
through the time : I am young, and youth has many 
unexpected means of restoring itself. Suffer my pres- 
ence among you ; cheer me with your love ; make me 
wiser and better with what you say to one another, — 
but leave me to my own inward self." 

The two friends had made all preparation for their 
journey : but their departure was still delayed by the 
formalities of the foreign appointment of the major, a 
delay most welcome to Edward. Ottilie's letter had 
roused all his eagerness again : he had gathered hope 
and comfort from her words, and now felt himself en- 
couraged and justified in remaining and waiting. He 
declared, therefore, that he would not go : it would be 
folly indeed, he cried, of his own accord to throw away, 
by over-precipitateness, what was most valuable and 
most necessary to him, when, although there was a 
danger of losing it, there was nevertheless a chance that 
it might be preserved. " What is the right name of 
conduct such as that ? " he said. " It is only that we 
desire to show that we are able to will, to choose. 1 
myself, under the influences of the same ridiculous 
folly, have torn myself away, days before there was any 
necessity for it, from my friends, merely that I might 
not be forced to go by the definite expiration of my 
term. This time I will stay : what reason is there for 
my going ? is she not already removed far enough from 
me ? I am not likely now to catch her hand or press 
her to my heart : I could not even think of it without 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 439 

a shudder. She has not separated herself from me : 
she has raised herself far above ma" 

And so he remained as he desired, as he was obliged ; 
but he was never easy except when he found himself 
with Ottilie. She, too, had the same feeling with him : 
she could not tear herself away from the same blissful 
necessity. On all sides they exerted an indescribable, 
almost magical, power of attraction over one another. 
Living as they were under one roof, without even so 
much as thinking of each other, although they might 
be occupied with other things, or diverted this way 
or that way by the other members of the party, they 
always drew together. If they were in the same room, 
in a short time they were sure to be either standing or 
sitting near each other : they were only easy when as 
close together as they could be, but they were then 
completely easy. To be near was enough ; there was 
no need for them either to look or to speak ; they did 
not seek to touch one another or make sign or gesture, 
but merely to be together. Then there were not two, 
there was but one, in unconscious and perfect content, 
at peace, and at peace with the world. So it was, that, 
if either of them had been imprisoned at the farther 
end of the house, the other would by degrees, without 
intending it, have moved thither. Life was to them a 
riddle, the solution of which they could find only in 
union. 

Ottilie was throughout so cheerful and quiet that 
they were able to feel perfectly easy about her; she 
was seldom absent from the society of her friends ; all 
that she had desired was, that she might be allowed to 
eat alone, with no one to attend upon her but Nanny. 

What habitually befalls any person repeats itself 
more often than one is apt to suppose, because his own 
nature gives the immediate occasion for it. Character, 
individuality, inclination, tendency, locality, circum- 
stance, and habits form together a whole, in which 



44© ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

every man moves as in an atmosphere, and where only 
he feels himself at ease in his proper element 

And so we find men, of whose changeableness so 
many complaints are made, after many years, to our 
surprise, unchanged, and in all their infinite tendencies, 
outward and inward, unchangeable. 

Thus, in the daily life of our friends, almost every- 
thing glided on again in its old smooth track. Ottilie 
still displayed by many silent attentions her obliging 
nature, and the others like her continued each them- 
selves; and then the domestic circle exhibited an 
image of their former life, so like it, that they might be 
pardoned if at times they fancied all might be again as 
it was once. 

The autumn days, which were of the same length 
with those old spring days, brought the party back 
into the house out of the air about the same hour. 
The gay fruits and flowers which belonged to the 
season might have made them fancy it was now the 
autumn of that first spring, and the interval dropped 
out of remembrance ; for the flowers which now were 
blowing were such as they then had sown, and the 
fruits were now ripening on the trees they had at that 
time seen in blossom. 

The major went backwards and forwards, and Mittler 
came frequently. The evenings were generally spent 
in exactly the same way. Edward usually read aloud, 
with more life and feeling than before, much better, 
and even, it may be said, with more cheerfulness. It 
appeared as if he were endeavouring, by light-hearted - 
ness as much as by devotion, to quicken Ottilie's tor- 
por into life, and dissolve her silence. He seated 
himself in the same position as he used to do, that 
she might look over his book : he was uneasy and 
distracted unless she was doing so, unless he was sure 
that she was following his words with her eyes. 

Every trace had vanished of the unpleasant, ungra- 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



441 



cious feelings of the intervening time. No one had 
any secret complaint against another: there were no 
cross purposes, no bitterness. The major accompanied 
Charlotte's playing with his violin ; and Edward's flute 
sounded again, as formerly, in harmony with Ottilie's 
piano. Thus they were now approaching Edward's 
birthday, which the year before they had missed cele- 
brating. This time they were to keep it without any 
festivities, in quiet enjoyment among themselves. They 
had so settled it together, half expressly, half from a 
tacit agreement. As they approached nearer to this 
epoch, however, an anxiety about it, which had hitherto 
been more felt than observed, became more noticeable 
in Ottilie's manner. She was to be seen often in the 
garden examining the flowers. She had signified to the 
gardener that he was to save as many as he could of 
every sort ; and she had been especially occupied with 
the asters, which this year were blowing in immense 
profusion. 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

The most remarkable feature, however, which was 
observed about Ottilie was, that, for the first time, she 
had now unpacked the box, and had selected a variety 
of things out of it, which she had cut up, and which 
were intended evidently to make one complete suit 
for her. The rest, with Nanny's assistance, she had 
endeavoured to replace again ; and she had been hardly 
able to get it done, the space being over full, although 
a portion had been taken out The covetous little 
Nanny could never satisfy herself with looking at all 
the pretty things, especially as she found provision 
made there for every article of dress which could 
be wanted, even the smallest. Numbers of shoes 
and stockings, garters with devices on them, gloves, 
and various other things, were left; and she begged 
Ottilie just to give her one or two of them. Ottilie 
refused to do that, but opened a drawer in her ward- 
robe, and told the girl to take what she liked. The 
latter hastily and clumsily dashed in her hand and 
seized what she could, running off at once with her 
booty, to show it off and display her good fortune 
among the rest of the servants. 

At last Ottilie succeeded in packing everything care- 
fully into its place. She then opened a secret com- 
partment, which was contrived in the lid, where she 
kept a number of notes and letters from Edward, many 
dried flowers, the mementos of their early walks to- 
gether, a lock of his hair, and various other little mat- 
ters. She now added one more to them, — her fathers 

442 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 443 

portrait, — and then locked it all up, and hung the 
delicate key by a gold chain about her neck, against 
her heart. 

In the meantime, her friends had now in their hearts 
begun to entertain the best hopes for her. Charlotte 
was convinced that she would one day begin to speak 
again. She had latterly seen signs about her which 
implied that she was engaged in secret about some- 
thing ; a look of cheerful self-satisfaction, a smile like 
that which hangs about the face of persons who have 
something pleasant and delightful, which they are 
keeping concealed from those whom they love. No 
one knew that she spent many hours in extreme ex- 
haustion, and that only at rare intervals, when she 
appeared in public through the power of her will, she 
was able to rouse herself. 

Mittler had latterly been a frequent visitor, and 
when he came he stayed longer than he usually did 
at other times. This strong-willed, resolute person 
was only too well aware that there is a certain mo- 
ment in which alone it will answer to smite the iron. 
Ottilie's silence and reserve he interpreted according to 
his own wishes : no steps had as yet been taken toward 
a separation of the husband and wife. He hoped to 
be able to determine the fortunes of the poor girl in 
some not undesirable way. He listened, he allowed 
himself to seem convinced : he was discreet and un- 
obtrusive, and conducted himself in his own way with 
sufficient prudence. There was but one occasion on 
which he uniformly forgot himself, — when he found 
an opportunity for giving his opinion upon subjects to 
which he attached a great importance. He lived much 
within himself: and when he was with others, his 
only relation to them geuerally was in active employ- 
ment on their behalf ; but if once, when among friends, 
his tongue broke fairly loose, as on more than one occa- 
sion we have already seen, he rolled out his words in 



444 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



utter recklessness whether they wounded or whether 
they pleased, whether they did evil or whether they 
did good. 

The eve Ding before the birthday, the major and 
Charlotte were sitting together expecting Edward, 
who had gone out for a ridu; Mittler was walking 
up and down the room * Ottilie was in her own room, 
laying out the dress which she was to wear on the 
morrow, and making signs to her maid about a nun> 
ber of things, which the girl, who perfectly understood 
her silent language, arranged as she was ordered. 

Mittler had fallen exactly on his favourite subject 
One of the points on which he used most to insist was, 
that in the education of children, as well as in the 
conduct of nations, there was nothing more worthless 
and barbarous than laws and commandments forbid- 
ding this and that action. ** Man is naturally active," 
he said, " wherever he is; and, if you know how to tell 
him what to do, he will do it immediately, and keep 
straight in the direction in which you set him. 1 my- 
self, in my own circle, am far better pleased to endure 
faults and mistakes, till I know what the opposite vir- 
tue is that I am to enjoin, than to be rid of the faults 
and to have nothing good to put in their placa A man 
is really glad to do what is right and sensible, if he 







ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 445 

that? 'Thou shalt do no murder;' as if any man 
ever felt the slightest general inclination to strike an- 
other man dead. Men will hate sometimes ; they will 
fly into passions and forget themselves; and, as a 
consequence of this or other feelings, it may easily 
come now and then to a murder ; but what a barba- 
rous precaution it is to tell children that they are not 
to kill or murder ! If the commandment ran, ' Have a 
regard for the life of another ; put away whatever can 
do him hurt ; save him, though with personal risk ; if 
you injure him, consider that you are injuring your- 
self/ — that is the form which should be in use 
among educated, reasonable people. And in our 
catechism teaching we have only an awkward, clumsy 
way of sliding into it, through a 'what does that 
mean?' 

" And as for the seventh, that is utterly detestable. 
What ! to stimulate the precocious curiosity of children 
to pry into dangerous mysteries ; to obtrude violently 
upon their imaginations ideas and notions which be- 
yond all things you should wish to keep from them ! 
It were far better if such actions as that commandment 
speaks of were dealt with arbitrarily by some secret 
tribunal, than prated openly of before church and 
congregation — " 

At this moment Ottilie entered the room. 

"'Thou shalt not commit adultery/" Mittler went 
on: "how coarse! how brutal! What a different 
sound it has, if you let it run, ' Thou shalt hold in 
reverence the bond of marriage. When thou seest a 
husband and a wife between whom there is true love, 
thou shalt rejoice in it ; and their happiness shall glad- 
deu thee like the cheerful light of a beautiful day. If 
there arise anything to make division between them, thou 
shalt use thy best endeavour to clear it away. Thou 
shalt labour to pacify them, and to soothe them; 
to show each of them the excellencies of the other. 



446 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

Thou shalt not think of thyself ; but with noble disin- 
terestedness thou shalt seek to further the well-being 
of others, and make them feel what a happiness is that 
which arises out of all duty done, and especially out 
of that duty which holds man and wife indissolubly 
bound together/ " 

Charlotte felt as if she was sitting on hot coals. The 
situation was the more distressing, as she was con- 
vinced that Mittler was not thinking the least where 
he was or what he was saying ; and, before she was 
able to interrupt him, she saw Ottilie, after changing 
colour painfully for a few seconds, rise, and leave the 
room. 

Charlotte constrained herself to seem unembarrassed. 
"You will leave us the eighth commandment," she 
said, with a faint smile. 

" All the rest," replied Mittler, " if I may only insist 
first on the foundation of the whole of them." 

At this moment Nanny rushed in, screaming and 
crying, " She is dying ; the young lady is dying ; come 
to her, come ! " 

Ottilie had found her way back with extreme diffi- 
culty to her own room. The beautiful things she was 
to wear the next day were spread on a number of 
chairs; and the girl, who had been running from one 
to the other, stariug at them and admiring them, called 
out in her ecstasy, " Look, dearest madam, only look ! 
There is a bridal dress worthy of you." 

Ottilie heard the word, and sank upon the sofa. 
Nanny saw her mistress turn pale, fall back, and faint 
She ran for Charlotte, who came. The medical friend 
was on the spot in a momeut. He thought it was 
nothing but exhaustion. He ordered some strong soup 
to be brought. Ottilie refused it with an expression 
of loathing : it almost threw her into convulsions when 
they put the cup to her lips. A light seemed to break 
on the physician : he asked hastily and anxiously what 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 447 

Ottilie had taken that day. The little girl hesitated 
He repeated his question, and then she acknowledged 
that Ottilie had taken nothing. 

There was a nervousness of manner about Nanny 
which made him suspicious. He carried her with him 
into the adjoining room ; Charlotte followed ; and the 
girl threw herself on her knees, and confessed, that, 
for a long time past, Ottilie had taken as good as noth- 
ing ; at her mistress's urgent request, she had herself 
eaten the food which had been brought for her ; she 
had said nothing about it, because Ottilie had by signs 
alternately begged her not to tell any one, and threat- 
ened her if she did; and, as she innocently added, 
" because it was so nice." 

The major and Mittler now came up as welL They 
found Charlotte busy with the physician. The pale, 
beautiful girl was sitting, apparently conscious, in the 
corner of the sofa. They had begged her to lie down ; 
she had declined to do this: but she made signs to 
have her box brought, and, resting her feet upon it, 
placed herself in an easy, half recumbent position. She 
seemed desirous of taking leave, and, by her gestures, 
was expressing to all about her the tenderest affection, 
love, gratitude, entreaties for forgiveness, and the most 
heartfelt farewell. 

Edward, on alighting from his horse, was informed 
of what had happened : he rushed to the room, threw 
himself down at her side, and, seizing her hand, deluged 
it with silent tears. In this position he remained a 
long time. At last he called out, " And am I never 
more to hear your voice? Will you not turn back 
toward life, to give me one single word ? Well, then, 
very well. I will follow you yonder, and there we 
will speak in another language." 

She pressed his hand with all the strength she had : 
she gazed at him with a glance full of life and full of 
love ; and drawing a long breath, and for a little while 



448 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

moving her lips inarticulately, with a tender effort of 
affection she called out, " Promise me to live ; " and 
then fell back immediately. 

a I promise, I promise!" he cried to her; but he 
cried only after her : she was already gone. 

After a miserable night, the care of providing for 
the loved remains fell upon Charlotte. The major and 
Mittler assisted her. Edward's condition was utterly 
pitiable. His first thought, when he was in any degree 
recovered from his despair, and able to collect himself, 
was, that Ottilie should not be carried out of the castle, 
she should be kept there, and attended upon as if she 
were alive ; for she was not dead, it was impossible that 
she should be dead. They did what he desired; at 
least, so far as that they did not do what he had for- 
bidden. He did not ask to see her. 

There was now a second alarm, and a further cause 
for anxiety. Nanny, who had been spoken to sharply 
by the physician, had been compelled by threats to 
confess, and after her confession had been overwhelmed 
with reproaches, had now disappeared. After a long 
search she was found, but she appeared to be out of 
her mind. Her parents took her home ; but the gen- 
tlest treatment had no effect upon her, and she had to 
be locked up for fear she should run away again. 

They succeeded by degrees in rescuing Edward from 
utter despair, but only to make him more really 
wretched. He now saw clearly, he could not doubt 
how, that the happiness of his life was gone from him 
for ever. It was suggested to him, that, if Ottilie were 
buried in the chapel, she would still remain among the 
living ; and it would be a calm, quiet, peaceful home 
for her. There was much difficulty in obtaining his 
consent : he would only give it under condition that 
she should be taken there in an open coffin ; that the 
vault in which she was laid, if covered at all, should 
be only covered with glass ; and a lamp should be kept 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 449 

always burning there. It was arranged that this 
should be done, and then he seemed resigned. 

They clothed the lovely body in the festal dress she 
had herself prepared, and wreathed about her head a 
garland of asters, which shone sadly there like melan- 
choly stars. To decorate the bier and the church and 
chapel, the gardens were robbed of their beauty : they 
lay desolate, as if a premature winter had blighted all 
their loveliness. At early morning she was borne in an 
open coffin out of the castle, and the heavenly features 
were once more reddened with the rising sun. The 
mourners crowded about her as she was being taken 
along. None would go before, none would follow, 
every one would be where she was, every one would 
enjoy her presence for the last time. Not one of all 
present, men, women, boys, remained unmoved; least 
of all to be consoled were the girls, who felt most 
immediately what they had lost 

Nanny was not present : it had been thought better 
not to allow it, and they had kept secret from her the 
day and the hour of the funeraL She was at her 
parents' house, closely watched, in a room looking 
toward the garden. But, when she heard the bells 
tolling, she knew too well what they meant ; and her 
attendant having left her out of curiosity to see the 
funeral, she escaped out of the window into a passage, 
and from thence, finding all the doors locked, into an 
upper open loft. At this moment the funeral was 
passing through the village, which had been all freshly 
strewed with leaves. Nanny saw her mistress plainly 
close below her, more plainly, more entirely, than any 
one in the procession underneath ; she appeared to be 
lifted above the earth, borne as it were on clouds or 
waves: and the girl fancied she was making signs 
to her ; her senses swam ; she tottered, swayed herself 
for a moment on the edge, and fell to the ground. The 
crowd fell asunder on all sides with a cry of horror. 



450 ELECTIVE AFFfNITIES 

Id the tumult and confusion, the bearers were obliged 
to set down the coins; the girl lay clCttft by it; it 
seemed as if every limb was broken. They lillvd her 
up, and by accident or providentially she was allowed 
to lean over the body: the appeared, indeed, la bfl 
endeavouring, with what remained to her of life, to 
reach her beloved mistress. Scarcely, however, hud 
the loosely hanging limbs touched Ottilie s robi_\ and i hi 
powerless finger rested on the folded hands, than tfie 
girl started up, and, first raising her arms and eyes 
toward heaven, flung her sell down upon her knees 
before the coffin, and gazed with passionate ddTu 
at her mistress. 

At last she sprang, as if inspired, from off the 
ground, and cried with a voice of ecstasy, * ( Yes, she 
has forgiven me what no man, what I myself, could 
never have forgiven. God forgives me through her 
look, her motion, her lips. Now she is lying again eo 
still and tjuiet; but you saw how she raised herself 
up, and unfolded her hands and blessed me, and how 
kindly she looked at ma You all heard, you caa 
witness, that she said to me, 'Yon are forgiven.* I 
am not a murderess any more. She has forgiven me, 
God has forgiven me, and no one may now say any- 
thing more against me.'* 

The people stood crowding around her* Ther wnre 






ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 45 1 

time, as it lay there so beautifully beneath its glass 
covering. But Nanny would not permit this duty to 
be taken from herself. She would remain alone with- 
out a companion, and attend to the lamp which was 
now kindled for the first time ; and she begged to be 
allowed to do it with so much eagerness and persever- 
ance, that they let her have her way, to prevent any 
greater evil that might ensue. 

But she did not long remain alone. As night was 
falling, and the hanging lamp began to exercise its full 
right and shed abroad a larger lustre, the door opened, 
and the architect entered the chapel The chastely 
ornamented walls in the mild light looked more strange, 
more awful, more antique, than he was prepared to see 
them. Nanny was sitting on one side of the coffin. 
She recognised him immediately, but she pointed in 
silence to the pale form of her mistress. And there 
stood he on the other side, in the vigour of youth and 
of grace, with his arms drooping, and his hands clasped 
piteously together, motionless, with head and eye in- 
clined over the inanimate body. 

Once already he had stood thus before in the " Beli- 
sarius : " he had now involuntarily fallen into the same 
attituda And this time how naturally! Here, too, 
was something of inestimable worth thrown down 
from its high estate. There were courage, prudence, 
power, rank, and wealth in one single man, lost 
irrevocably; there were qualities which, in decisive 
moments, had been of indispensable service to the 
nation and the prince, but which, when the moment 
was passed, were no more valued, but flung aside and 
neglected, and cared for no longer. And here were 
many other silent virtues, which had been summoned 
but a little time before by nature out of the depths 
of her treasures, and now swept rapidly away again by 
her careless hand, — rare, sweet, lovely virtues, whose 
peaceful workings the thirsty world had welcomed, 



452 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

while it had them, with gladness and joy, and now 
was sorrowing for them in unavailing desire. 

Both the youth and the girl were silent for a long 
time. But when she saw the tears streaming fast 
down his cheeks, and he appeared to be sinking under 
the burden of his sorrow, she spoke to him with so 
much truthfulness and power, with such kindness and 
such confidence, that, astonished at the flow of her 
words, he was able to recover himself; and he saw 
his beautiful friend floating before him in the new 
life of a higher world. His tears ceased flowing; 
his sorrow grew lighter: on his knees he took leave 
of Ottilie ; and, with a warm pressure of the hand of 
Nanny, he rode away from the spot into the night 
without having seen a single other person. 

The surgeon had, without the girl being aware of it, 
remained all night in the church ; and, when he went 
in the morning to see her, he found her cheerful and 
tranquil. He was prepared for wild aberrations. He 
thought that she would be sure to speak to him of 
conversations which she had held in the night with 
Ottilie, and of other such apparitions. But she was 
natural, quiet, and perfectly self-possessed. She re- 
membered accurately what had happened in her pre- 
vious life : she could describe the circumstances of it 
with the greatest exactness, and never, in anything 
which she said, stepped out of the course of what was 
real and natural, except in her account of what had 
passed with the body, which she delighted to repeat 
again and again, how Ottilie had raised herself up, had 
blessed her, had forgiven her, and thereby set her at 
rest for ever. 

Ottilie remained so long in her beautiful state, which 
more resembled sleep than death, that a number of per- 
sons were attracted there to look at her. The neigh- 
bours aud the villagers wished to see her again, and 
every one desired to hear Nanny's incredible story 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 453 

from her own mouth. Many laughed at it, most 
doubted, and some few were found who were able 
to believe. 

Difficulties, for which no real satisfaction is attain- 
able, compel us to faith. Before the eyes of all the 
world, Nanny's limbs had been broken, and by touch- 
ing the sacred body she had been restored to strength 
again. Why should not others find similar good for- 
tune ? Delicate mothers first privately brought their 
children who were suffering from obstinate disorders, 
and they believed that they could trace an immediate 
improvement. The confidence of the people increased, 
and at last there was no one so old or so weak as not 
to have come to seek fresh life and health and strength 
at this placa The concourse became so great, that 
they were obliged, except at the hours of divine ser- 
vice, to keep the church and chapel closed. 

Edward did not venture to look at her again: he 
lived on mechanically; he seemed to have no tears 
left, and to be incapable of any further suffering ; his 
power of taking interest in what was going on dimin- 
ished every day; his appetite gradually failed. The 
only refreshment which did him any good was what 
he drank out of the glass, which to him, indeed, had 
been but an untrue prophet. He continued to gaze 
at the intertwining initials, and the earnest cheerful- 
ness of his expression seemed to signify that he still 
hoped to be united with her at last. And as every 
little circumstance combines to favour the fortunate, 
and every accident contributes to elate him ; so do the 
most trifling occurrences love to unite to crush and 
overwhelm the unhappy. One day, as Edward raised 
the beloved glass to his lips, he put it down, and 
thrust it from him with a shudder. It was the same, 
and not the same. He missed a little private mark 
upon it. The valet was questioned, and had to con- 
fess that the real glass had not long since been broken, 



454 ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 

and that one like it, belonging to the same set, had 
been substituted in its place. 

Edward could not be angry. His destiny had spoken 
out with sufficient clearness in the fact, and how should 
he be affected by the shadow ? and yet it touched him 
deeply. He seemed now to dislike taking any bever- 
age, and thenceforward purposely to abstain from food 
and from speaking. 

But from time to time a sort of restlessness came 
over him : he would desire to eat and drink something, 
and would begin again to speak. " Ah ! " he said one 
day to the major, who now seldom left his side, " how 
unhappy I am that all my efforts are but imitations 
ever, and false and fruitless. What was blessedness 
to her, is pain to me; and yet, for the sake of this 
blessedness, I am forced to take this pain upon my- 
self. I must go after her, follow her by the same road. 
But my nature and my promise hold me back. It is 
a terrible difficulty, indeed, to imitate the inimitable. 
I feel clearly, my dear friend, that genius is required 
for everything, — for martyrdom as well as the rest." 

What shall we say of the endeavours which, in this 
hopeless condition, were made for him ? His wife, his 
friends, his physician, incessantly laboured to do some- 
thing for him. But it was all in vain : at last they 
found him dead. Mittler was the first to make the 
melancholy discovery : he called the physician, and 
examined closely, with his usual presence of mind, the 
circumstances under which he had been found. Char- 
lotte rushed in ; for she was afraid that he had com- 
mitted suicide, and accused herself and accused others 
of unpardonable carelessness. But the physician on 
natural, and Mittler on moral, grounds, were soon able 
to satisfy her of the contrary, It was quite clear that 
Edward's end had taken him by surprise. In a quiet 
moment he had taken out of his pocketbook and out 
of a casket everything which remained to him as me- 



ELECTIVE AFFINITIES 



455 



morials of Ottilie, and had spread them out before him, 
— a lock of hair, flowers which had been gathered in 
some happy hour, and every letter which she had 
written to him from the first, which his wife had 
ominously happened to give him. It was impossible 
that he would intentionally have exposed these to the 
danger of being seen by the first person who might 
happen to discover him. 

But so lay the heart, which, but a short time before, 
had been so swift and eager, at rest now, where it 
could never be disturbed ; and falling asleep, as he did, 
with his thoughts on one so saintly, he might well be 
called blessed. Charlotte gave him his place at Ottilie's 
side, and arranged that thenceforth no other person 
should be placed with them in the same vault. 

In order to secure this, she made it a condition 
under which she settled considerable sums of money 
on the church and the school 

So he the lovers, sleeping side by side. Peace 
hovers above their resting-place. Fair angel faces 
gaze down upon them from the vaulted ceiling; and 
what a happy moment that will be when one day they 
wake again together 1 



The Good Women 



The Good Women 



Henrietta and Armidoro had been for some time 
engaged in walking through the garden, in which the 
Summer Club was accustomed to assemble. It had 
long been their practice to arrive before the other 
members; for they entertained the warmest attach- 
ment to each other, and their pure and virtuous 
friendship fostered the delightful hope that they would 
shortly be united in the bonds of unchanging affection. 

Henrietta, who was of a lively disposition, no sooner 
perceived her friend Amelia approach the summer- 
house from a distance, than she ran to welcome her. 
The latter was already seated at a table in the ante- 
chamber, where the newspapers, journals, and other 
recent publications, lay displayed. 

It was her custom to spend occasional evenings in 
reading in this appartment, without paying attention 
to the company who came and went, or suffering her- 
self to be disturbed by the rattling of the dice, or the 
loud conversation which prevailed at the gaming-tables. 
She spoke little, except for the purpose of rational 
conversation. Henrietta, on the contrary, was not so 
sparing of her words ; being of an easily satisfied dis- 
position, and ever ready with expressions of com- 
mendation. They were soon joined by a third person, 
whom we shall call Sinclair. "What news do you 

459 



of twelve engravings — 
" Indeed ! " exclaimed 
"you have no intentio 
ingenuity to the test. 1 
you know how I deligh 
in guessing my friends' e 
you say, — sketches of c 
ventures or situations, or 
to the honour of the sex.' 
Sinclair smiled in sile 
him with calm composui 
that fine sarcastic tone w 
I read his countenance tro 
duce of which we shall c 
so fond of discovering som 
appearance of turning us ii 
Sinclair. — You are bee 
threaten to grow satirical, 
open my little packet 
Henrietta. — Oh! produ< 
Sinclair. — They are car 
Henrietta. — I love then 
Sinclair. — Sketches of j 
Henrietta. — So much tl 
to that class. Their portra 
pleasure as their society. 
Sinclair. — Shall I sho\* 
Henrietta. — Do so at or 
So saying, she snatchec 



THE GOOD WOMEN 461 

took out the pictures, spread six of them upon the 
table, glanced over them hastily, and then shuffled 
them together as if they had been a pack of cards. 
" Capital ! " she exclaimed : " they are done to the very 
life. This one, for instance, holding a pinch of snuff 

to her nose, is the very image of Madame S , whom 

we shall meet this evening; and this old lady with 
the cat is not unlike my grand-aunt ; that figure hold- 
ing the skein of thread resembles our old milliner. 
We can find an original for every one of these ugly 
figures ; and even amongst the men, I have somewhere 
or other seen such an old fellow bent double, and also 
a close resemblance to the figure holding the thread. 
They are full of fun, these engravings, and admirably 
executed." 

Amelia, who had glanced carelessly at the pictures 
and instantly withdrawn her eyes, inquired how they 
could look for resemblances in such things. "One 
deformity is like another, just as the beautiful ever 
resembles the beautiful. Our minds are irresistibly 
attracted by the latter in the same degree as they are 
repelled by the former. 

Sinclair. — But our fancy and our wit find more 
amusement in deformity than in beauty. Much can 
be made of the former, but nothing at all of the latter. 

" But beauty exalts, whilst deformity degrades, us," 
observed Armidoro, who, from his post at the window, 
had paid silent attention to all that had occurred. 
Without approaching the table, he now withdrew into 
the adjoining cabinet. 

All clubs have their peculiar epochs. The interest 
the members take in each other, and their friendly 
agreement, are of a fluctuating character. The club of 
which we speak had now attained its zenith. The 
members were, for the most part, men of refinement, 
or at least of calm and quiet deportment : they mu- 
tually recognised each other's value, and allowed all 



403 



THE GOOD WOMEN 



want of merit to find its own leveL Each one mt 
his own individual amusement, and the general com 
aation was often of a nature to attract attention . 

At this time, a gentleman named Seyton arrived, 
accompanied by bis wife. He was a man who had 
seen much of the world, first from his engage 
business, and afterward in political affairs: be was, 
moreover, an agreeable companion ; although, in mixed 
society » he was chiefly remarkable for his talent as a 
card-player. His wife was a worthy woman, kind and 
faithful, and enjoying the most perfect confidence and 
esteem of her husband She felt happy that she 
could now give uncontrolled indulgence to her taste 
for pleasure. At home she could not exist with- 
out a companion, and she found in amusement and 
diversions the only incentive to home enjoyment. 

We must treat our readers as strangers, or rather as 
visitors to the club; and in full confidence we must 
introduce them speedily to our new society, A poet 
paints his characters by describing their actions \ we 
must adopt a shorter course, and by a hasty sketch 
introduce our readers rapidly to the scenes. 

Seyton approached the table and looked at the 
pictures. 

11 A discussion has arisen," observed Henrietta! *• with 
resneet to caricatures. What Aide do von take? t 






THE GOOD WOMEN 463 

Henrietta. — Favour us, Seyton, with your opinion. 

Seyton. — I should propose a compromise. Why 
should our pictures be better than ourselves? Our 
nature seems to have two sides, which cannot exist 
separately. light and darkness, good and evil, height 
and depth, virtue and vice, and a thousand other 
contradictions unequally distributed, appear to con- 
stitute the component parts of human nature; and 
why, therefore, should I blame an artist, who, whilst 
he paints an angel bright, brilliant, and beautiful, 
on the other hand paints a devil black, ugly, and 
hateful? 

Amelia. — There could be no objection to such a 
course, if caricaturists did not introduce within their 
province subjects which belong to higher spheres. 

Seyton. — So far, I think you perfectly right. But 
artists, whose province is the Beautiful done, also ap- 
propriate what does not precisely belong to them. 

Amelia. — I have no patience, however, with carica- 
turists who ridicule the portraits of eminent men. In 
spite of my better sense, I can never consider that 
great man Pitt as anything else than a snub-nosed 
broomstick; and Fox, who was in many respects an 
estimable character, anything better than a pig stuffed 
to its utmost capacity. 

Henrietta. — Precisely my view. Caricatures of 
such a nature make an indelible impression, and I 
cannot deny that it often affords amusement to evoke 
their recollection and pervert them even into worse 
distortions. 

Sinclair. — But, ladies, allow us to revert for a 
moment from this discussion to a consideration of our 
engravings. 

Seyton. — I observe that a fancy for dogs is here 
delineated in no very flattering manner. 

Amelia. — I have no objection, for I detest these 
animals. 



464 THE GOOD WOMEN 

Sinclair. — First an enemy to caricatures, and then 
unfriendly to the dog tribe, 

Amelia. — And why not t What are such animals 
but caricatures of men ? 

Seyton* — You probably remember what a certain 
traveller relates of the city of tiratz,"thnt the place 
was full of dogs, and of dumb persons half idiotic/' 
Might it not be possible that the habitual sight of so 
many barking, senseless animals should have produced 
an effect upon the human race ? 

Simlair. — Our attachment to animals deteriorates 
our passions and a flections. 

Amelia, — But if our reason, according to the gen- 
eral expression, is sometimes capable of standing still, 
it may surely do so in the presence of dogs. 

Sinclair. — Fortunately there is no one in our com* 
pany who cares for doga but Madame Seyton* She is 
very much attached to her pretty greyhound. 

Sty ton. — And that same animal is particularly dear 
and valuable to her husband. 

Madame Seyton, from a distance, raised her finger 
in threat of her husbaud. 

Scyton* — I know a proof that such animals detach 
our affections from their legitimate objects. May I 
not> my dear child (addressing his wife), relate our 
anecdote? We need not be ashamed of it. 







THE GOOD WOMEN 465 

me, and occasionally remaining behind. It now be- 
came her property, was a cheerful companion, and 
reminded her of my return. At home the little animal 
afforded much amusement; and in the promenades, 
where we had so often walked together, it seemed con- 
stantly engaged in looking for me, and barked as if 
announcing me, as it sprang from among the trees. 
My darling little Meta amused itself thus for a con- 
siderable time by fancying me really present, until at 
length, about the time when I had hoped to return, 
the period of my absence being again indefinitely pro- 
longed, the poor animal pined away and died." 

Madame Seyton. — Just so, dear husband. And 
your narrative is sweetly interesting. 

Seyton. — You are quite at liberty to interrupt me, 
my dear, if you think fit. My friend's house now 
seemed desolate ; her walks had lost all their interest ; 
her favourite dog, which had ever been at her side 
when she wrote to me, had grown to be an actual 
necessity of existence ; and her letters were now dis- 
continued. She found, however, some consolation in 
the company of a handsome youth, who evinced an 
anxiety to fill the place of her former four-footed com- 
panion, both in the house and on her walks. But 
without enlarging on this subject, and let me be ever 
so inimical to rash judgments, I may say that matters 
began to assume a rather critical appearance. 

Madame Seyton. — I must let you continue. A 
story which is all truth, and wholly free from exagger- 
ation, is seldom worth hearing. 

Seyton. — A mutual friend, versed in the world, and 
acquainted with human nature, continued to reside 
near my dear friend after my departure. He paid fre- 
quent visits at her house, and had noticed the change 
she had undergone. He formed his plan in secrecy, 
and called upon her one day, accompanied by a grey- 
hound which precisely resembled mine. The cordially 



466 THE GOOD WOMEN 

affectionate and appropriate address with which he 
accompanied his present, the unexpected appearance 
of a favourite which seemed to have risen from the 
grave, the silent rebuke with which her susceptible 
heart reproached her at the sight, brought back to her 
mind a lively recollection of me. My young friend, 
who had hitherto filled my place, accordingly received 
his congS in the politest manner possible ; and the new 
favourite was retained by the lady as her constant com- 
panion. When, upon my return, I held my beloved 
in my embrace, I thought the greyhound was my own, 
and wondered not a little that he barked at me as 
at a stranger. I thought that dogs of the present day 
had far less faithful memories than those of classical 
times, and observed that Ulysses had been remembered 
by his dog after many years' absence, whilst mine had 
forgotten me in an incredibly short space of time. 
"And yet he has taken good care of your Penelope," 
she replied, promising at the same time to explain her 
mysterious speech. This was soon done, for cheerful 
confidence has at all times caused the happiness of our 
union. 

Madame Seyton. — Well, now, conclude with the 
anecdote. If you please, I will walk for an hour ; for 
you intend doubtless to sit down to the card-table. 

He nodded his assent. She took the arm of her 
companion, and went toward the door. "Take the 
dog with you, my dear!" he exclaimed as she de- 
parted. The entire company smiled, as did Seyton 
also, when he saw how apt had been his unintentional 
observation ; and every one else silently felt a trifling 
degree of malicious satisfaction. 

Sinclair. — You have told us of a dog that was hap- 
pily instrumental in promoting a marriage : I can tell 
of another whose influence destroyed one. I was also 
once in love, and it was also my fate to set out upon a 
journey ; and I also left my love behind me, with this 



THE GOOD WOMEN 467 

difference : my wish to possess her was as yet unknown 
to her. At length I returned. The many adventures 
in which I had engaged were strongly imprinted upon 
my mind. Like all travellers I was fond of recount- 
ing them, and I hoped by this means to win the atten- 
tion and sympathy of my beloved. I was anxious that 
she should know all the experience I had acquired, 
and the pleasures I had enjoyed. But I found that 
her attention was wholly directed to a dog. Whether 
this was done from that spirit of opposition which so 
often characterises the fair sex, or whether it arose 
from some unlucky accident, it so happened that the 
amiable qualities of the dog, their pretty amusements, 
and her attachment to the little animal, were the sole 
topics of conversation which she could find for a lover 
who had long been passionately devoted to her. I 
marvelled, and ceased speaking; then related various 
other circumstances I had reserved for her whilst I 
was absent. I then felt vexed at her coldness, and 
took my leave, but soon returned with feelings of self- 
reproach, and became even more unhappy than before. 
Under these circumstances our attachment cooled, our 
acquaintance was discontinued ; and I felt in my heart 
that I might attribute the misfortune to a dog. 

Armidoro, who had once more joined the company 
from the cabinet, observed, upon hearing the anecdote, 
" that it would be interesting to make a collection of 
stories showing the influence social animals of the 
lower order exercise over mankind. In the expecta- 
tion that such a collection will be one day made, I 
will relate an anecdote to show how a dog was the 
cause of a very tragical occurrence. 

"Ferrand and Cardano, two noblemen, had been 
attached friends from their very earliest youth. As 
court-pages, and as officers in the same regiment, they 
had shared many adventures together, and had become 
thoroughly acquainted with each other's dispositions. 



468 THE GOOD WOMEN 

Cardano's attraction was the fair sex, whilst Ferrand 
had a passion for gambling. The former was thought- 
less and haughty, the latter suspicious and reserved. 
It happened, at a time when Cardano was accidentally 
obliged to break off a certain tender attachment, that 
he left a beautiful little pet spaniel behind him. He 
soon procured another, which he afterward presented 
to a second lady, from whom he was about to separate ; 
and from that time, upon taking leave of every new 
female friend with whom he had become intimate, he 
invariably presented her with a similar little spanieL 
Ferrand was aware of Cardano's peculiar habit in this 
respect, but he never paid much attention to the 
circumstance. 

" The different pursuits of the two friends at length 
caused a long separation between them; and, when 
they next met, Ferrand had become a married man, 
and was leading the life of a country gentleman. Car- 
dano spent some time with him, either at his house or 
in the neighbourhood, where, as he had many relations 
and friends, he resided for nearly a year. 

" Upon his departure, Ferrand's attention was at- 
tracted by a very beautiful spaniel of which his wife 
had lately become possessed. He took it in his arms, 
admired its beauty, stroked it, praised it, and inquired 
where she had obtained so charming an animal. She 
replied, ' From Cardano.' He was at once struck with 
the memory of bygone times and events, and with a 
recollection of the significant memorial with which 
Cardano was accustomed to mark his insincerity : he 
felt oppressed with the indignity of an injured hus- 
band, raged violently, flung the innocent little animal 
with fury to the earth, and ran from the apartment 
amid the cries of the spaniel and the supplications of 
his astonished wife. A fearful dispute and countless 
disagreeable consequences ensued, which, though they 
did not produce an actual divorce, ended in a mutual 



THE GOOD WOMEN 469 

agreement to separate ; and a ruined household was the 
termination of this adventure." 

The story was not quite finished when Eulalia 
entered the apartment. She was a young lady whose 
society was universally sought after; and she formed 
one of the most attractive ornaments of the club, — 
an accomplished woman and successful authoress. 

The female caricatures were laid before her with 
which a clever artist had sinned against the fair sex, 
and she was invited to defend her good sisterhood. 

"Probably," said Amelia, "a collection of these 
charming portraits is intended for the almanac, and 
possibly some celebrated author will undertake the 
witty task of explaining in words what thfe ingenious 
artist has represented in his pictures." 

Sinclair felt that the pictures were not worthy of 
utter condemnation ; nor could he deny that some sort 
of explanation of their meaning was necessary, as a 
caricature which is not understood is worthless, and 
is, in fact, only valuable for its application. For, 
however the ingenious artist may endeavour to display 
his wit, he cannot always succeed ; and without a title 
or an explanation his labour is lost : words alone can 
give it value. 

Amelia. — Then, let words bestow a value upon 
this little picture. A young lady has fallen asleep in 
an armchair, having been engaged, as it appears, with 
some sort of writing. Another lady, who stands by 
weeping, presents a small box, or something else, to 
her companion. What can it mean ? 

Sinclair. — Am I, after all, to explain it, notwith- 
standing that the ladies seem but ill disposed both to 
caricatures and their expounders ? I am told that it 
is intended to represent an authoress, who was ac- 
customed to compose at night: she always obliged 
her maid to hold her inkstand, and forced the poor crea- 
ture to remain in that posture, even when she herself 



Henrietta, — Let us, 

Arban. — But let ui 
attentively. It seems 
employed in writing s 
held, if the circumstai 
be found to set it dow 
held the inkstand for t 
latter, reposing in he 
which we have all reac 
that any one who writ* 
stand to be held, is c 
pretty Henrietta, you ^ 
and guessing, tell us wl 
to represent this subjec 

Henrietta. — He oug 
and given the sleeper 
should appear at hand i 
be placed. 

Arbon. — Quite right 
a well-cushioned easy cl 
mistake not, are called 1 
near the fireplace, and j 
spectator. I should si 
writing upon her knee, 
comfortable in exacting 
The paper sinks upon h( 
and a sweet maiden stai 
with a forlorn look. 



THE GOOD WOMEN 471 

Henrietta. — Quite right. But here we have an 
inkstand upon the table already; and what is to be 
done, therefore, with the inkstand in the hand of the 
maiden ? It is not easy to conceive why she should 
seem to be wiping away her tears. 

Sinclair. — Here I defend the artist : he allows scope 
for the ingenuity of the commentator. 

Arbon. — Who will probably be engaged in exercis- 
ing his wit upon the headless men that hang against 
the wall This seems to me a clear proof of the 
inevitable confusion that arises from uniting arts 
between which there is no natural connection. If we 
were not accustomed to see engravings with explana- 
tions appended to them, the evil would ceasa I have 
no objection that a clever artist should attempt witty 
representations ; but they are difficult to execute, and 
he should at all events endeavour to make his subject 
independent of explanations. I could even tolerate 
remarks and little sentences issuing from the mouths 
of his figures, provided he turn his own commentator. 

Sinclair. — But, if you allow such a thing as a witty 
picture, you must admit that it is intended only for 
persons of intelligence; it can possess an attraction 
for none but those conversant with the occurrences of 
the day: why, then, should we object to a commen- 
tator who enables us to understand the nature of the 
intellectual amusement prepared for us ? 

Arbon. — I have no objection to explanations of 
pictures which fail to explain themselves. But they 
should be short and to the point. Wit is for the well- 
informed, they alone can understand a witty work; 
and the productions of bygone times and foreign lands 
are completely lost upon us. It is all well enough 
with the aid of such notes as we find appended to 
Rabelais and Hudibras, but what should we say of 
an author who should find it necessary to write one 
witty work to elucidate another? Wit, even when 



wuouicu pictures : nax 
pression, they would 
long ago. 

Amelia. — I propos 
the owner must be req 
What! a dozen and n 
tures to appear in a L 
be blind to his own int 
lation. What lover wil 
what husband to his wi 
when the first glance 
the sex ? 

Armidoro. — I have 
objectionable pictures i 
which have appeared 
celebrated Chodoviecki 1 
engravings, already repn 
to nature, but low, anc 
taste; but how did he 
I allude to, he delineate 
character, — scenes in ] 
the result of a high educ 
innate taste for the Go 
a step beyond the editor 
act in opposition to hi 
artist has chosen to p 
subject, let our author c 
express my view, choos 



THE GOOD WOMEN 473 

her talents, and so form a complete work. I shall not 
longer delay, Eulalia, to unite my own wishes to this 
proposal Undertake a description of good female 
characters. Create the opposite to these engravings, 
and employ the charm of your pen, not to elucidate 
these pictures, but to annihilate them. 

Sinclair. — Do, Eulalia. Eender us that favour: 
make haste and promise ! 

Eulalia. — Authors are ever apt to promise too 
easily, because they hope for ability to execute their 
wishes ; but experience has rendered me cautious. And 
even if I could foresee the necessary leisure, within 
so short a space of time, I should yet hesitate to 
undertake the arduous duty. The praises of our sex 
should be spoken by a man, — a young, ardent, loving 
man. A degree of enthusiasm is requisite for the 
task, and who has enthusiasm for one's own sex ? 

Armidoro. — I should prefer intelligence, justice, 
and delicacy of taste. 

Sinclair. — And who can discourse better on the 
character of good women than the authoress from 
whose fairy-tale of yesterday we all derived such pleas- 
ure and so much incomparable instruction ? 

Eulalia. — The fairy-tale was not mine. 

Sinclair. — Not yours ? 

Armidoro. — To that I can bear witness. 

Sinclair. — But still it was a lady's ? 

Eulalia. — The production of a friend. 

Sinclair. — Then, there are two Eulalias. 

Eulalia. — Many, perhaps ; and better than — 

Armidoro. — Will you relate to the company what 
you so lately confided to me ? You will all hear with 
astonishment how this delightful production originated. 

Eulalia. — A young lady, with whose great ex- 
cellence I became accidentally acquainted upon a 
journey, found herself once in a situation of extreme 
perplexity, the circumstances of which it would be 



474 THE GOOD WOMEN 

tedious to narrate. A gentleman to whom she was 
under many obligations, and who finally offered her 
his hand, having won her entire esteem and confidence, 
in a moment of weakness obtained from her the. 
privileges of a husband before their vows of love had 
been cemented by marriage. Some peculiar circum- 
stances compelled him to travel ; and, in the retirement 
of a country residence, she anticipated with fear and 
apprehension the moment when she should become 
a mother. She used to write to me daily, and informed 
me of every circumstance that happened. But there 
was shortly nothing more to fear — she now needed 
only patience; and I observed, from the tone of her 
letters, that she began to reflect with a disturbed mind 
upon all that had already occurred, and upon what 
was yet to take place in her regard. I determined, 
therefore, to address her in an earnest tone, on the 
duty she owed no less to herself than to her infant, 
whose support, particularly at the commencement of 
its existence, depended so much upon her mind being 
free from anxiety. I sought to console and to cheer 
her, and happened to send her several volumes of 
fairy-tales she had wished to read. Her own desire 
to escape from the burden of her melancholy thoughts, 
and the arrival of these books, formed a remarkable 
coincidence. She could not help reflecting frequently 
upon her peculiar fate ; and she therefore adopted the 
expedient of clothing all her past sorrowful adventures, 
as well as her painful apprehensions for the future, in 
a garb of romance. The events of her past life, — her 
attachment, her passion, her errors, and her sweet 
maternal cares, — no less than her present sad con- 
dition, were all embodied by her imagination in forms 
vivid, though impalpable, and passed before her mind 
in a varied succession of strange and unearthly fancies. 
Pen in hand, she spent many a day and night noting 
down her reflections. 



THE GOOD WOMEN 475 

Amelia. — In which occupation she must have found 
it difficult to hold her inkstand. 

HtUalia. — Thus did I acquire the rare collection of 
letters which I now possess. They are all picturesque, 
strange, and romantic. I never received from her an 
account of anything actual, so that I sometimes trem- 
bled for her reason. Her own situation, the birth of 
her infant, her sweet affection for her offspring, her 
joys, her hopes, and her maternal fears, were all treated 
as events of another world, from which she only ex- 
pected to be liberated by the arrival of her husband. 
On her nuptial day she concluded the fairy-tale which 
you heard recited yesterday, almost in her own words, 
and which derives its chief interest from the unusual 
circumstances under which it was composed. 

The company could not sufficiently express their 
astonishment at this statement ; and Seyton, who had 
abandoned his place at the gaming-table to another 
person, now entered the apartment, and made inquiries 
concerning the subject of conversation. He was briefly 
informed that it related to a fairy-tale, which, partly 
founded on facts, had been composed by the fantastic 
imagination of a mind not altogether sound. 

"It is a great pity," he remarked, "that private 
diaries are so completely out of fashion. Twenty years 
ago they were in general use, and many persons thought 
they possessed a veritable treasure in the record of 
their daily thoughts. I recollect a very worthy lady 
upon whom this custom entailed a sad misfortune. A 
certain governess had been accustomed from her earliest 
youth to keep a regular diary ; and, in fact, she con- 
sidered its composition to form an indispensable part 
of her daily duties. She continued the habit when 
she grew up, and did not lay it aside even when she 
married. Her memorandums were not looked upon 
by her as absolute secrets, she had no occasion for 
such mystery ; and she frequently read passages from 



casion this diary accidei 
way, and the perusal affoi 
ment. He had undesigni 
desk upon which the bool 
or intention, had read th] 
was open before him. I 
referring to a few previoi 
and then retired with the 
it was high time to disconti 
ment." 

Henrietta. — But, accor 
friend, our conversation si 
women ; and already we ar 
scarcely be counted among 

Seyton. — Why this con 
good ? Should we not be c 
others as with ourselves, eit 
by nature, or improved by € 

Armidoro. — I think it w< 
useful to arrange and collect 
as we have heard narrated 
founded on real occurrences, 
which mark the characters 
of our attention, even thoi 
extraordinary adventures. ' 
of romance, being devoid of 
worthless to the tribe of ai 
are for the most part destil 



THE GOOD WOMEN 477 

they would always prove entertaining to a reader who, 
in a mood of quiet contemplation, should wish to study 
the general characteristics of mankind. 

Sinclair. — Well said. And, if we had only thought 
of so praiseworthy a work a little earlier, we might 
have assisted our friend, the editor of the "Ladies' 
Calendar," by composing a dozen anecdotes, if not of 
model women, at least of well-behaved personages, to 
balance his catalogue of naughty ladies. 

Amelia. — I should be particularly pleased with a 
collection of incidents to show how a woman forms 
the very soul and existence of a household ; and this 
because the artist has introduced a sketch of a spend- 
thrift and improvident wife, to the defamation of our 
sex. 

Seyton. — I can furnish Amelia with a case precisely 
in point. 

Amelia. — Let us hear it. But do not imitate the 
usual custom of men who undertake to defend the 
ladies : they frequently begin with praise, and end with 
censure. 

Seyton. — Upon this occasion, however, I do not 
fear the perversion of my intention, through the in- 
fluence of any evil spirit. A young man once became 
tenant of a large hotel which was established in a 
good situation. Amongst the qualities which rec- 
ommend a host, he possessed a more than ordinary 
share of good temper ; and, as he had from his youth 
been a friend to the ale-house, he was peculiarly fortu- 
nate in selecting a pursuit in which he found it neces- 
sary to devote a considerable portion of the day to his 
home duties. He was neither careful nor negligent, 
and his own good temper exercised a perceptible in- 
fluence over the numerous guests who assembled around 
him. 

He had married a young person who was of a quiet, 
pleasing disposition. She paid punctual attention to 



ner. Generosity is a n 
becoming in a woman, 
our judgments must be s 
Margaret (for such ^ 
personage) was very mi 
band's carelessness. Up 
ments were made to hinc 
habit to leave the money 
upon the table, and then 
which he afterward paid 
up into packages, and wit 
its application. His wife 
without actual extravagai 
total want of system, const 
She was above all things a 
change his negligent hab 
observe that the small sa 
carefully retained were as 
the money that was squand 
fore, to adopt a rather da 
her husband open his eyes 
him of as much money as 
pose had recourse to an ei 
observed, that, when he hi 
which he allowed to remaii 
never reckoned it over a se 
away: she therefore rubbe 
stick with tallow, and then 



THE GOOD WOMEN 479 

placed it near the spot where the ducats lay exposed, 
a species of coin for which she entertained a warm 
partiality. She thus gained possession of a few pieces, 
and subsequently of some other coins, and was soon 
sufficiently well satisfied with her success. She there- 
fore repeated the operation frequently, and entertained no 
scruple about employing such evil means to effect so 
praiseworthy an object, and tranquillised her conscience 
by the reflection that such a mode of abstracting her 
husband's money could not be termed robbery, as her 
hands were not employed for the purpose. Her secret 
treasure increased gradually, and soon became very 
much greater by the addition of the ready money she 
herself received from the customers of the hotel, and 
of which she invariably retained possession. 

She had carried on this practice for a whole year, 
and, though she carefully watched her husband, never 
had reason to believe that his suspicions were awak- 
ened, until at length he began to grow discontented 
and unhappy. She induced him to tell her the cause 
of his anxiety, and learned that he was grievously per- 
plexed. After the last payment he had made of a 
considerable sum of money, he had laid aside his rent ; 
and not only this had disappeared, but he was unable 
to meet the demand of his landlord from any other 
channel: and as he had always been accustomed to 
keep his accounts in his head, and to write down 
nothing, he could not understand the cause of the 
deficiency. 

Margaret reminded him of his great carelessness, 
censured his thoughtless manner of receiving and pay- 
ing away money, and spoke of his general imprudence. 
Even his generous disposition did not escape her 
remarks; and, in truth, he had no excuse to offer 
for a course of conduct, the consequences of which he 
had so much reason to regret. 

But she could not leave her husband long in this 



43o THE GOOD WOMEN 

state of grievous trouble, more especially as she felt a 
pride in being able to render him happy once more. 
Accordingly, to his great astonishment, on his birth- 
day, which she was always accustomed to celebrate by 
presenting him with something useful, she entered his 
private apartment with a basket filled with rouleaux of 
money. The different descriptions of coin were packed 
together separately, and the contents carefully indorsed 
in a handwriting by no means of the best. It would 
be difficult to describe his astonishment at finding 
before him the precise sums he had missed, or at his 
wife's assurance that they belonged to him. She there- 
upon circumstantially described the time and the man- 
ner of her abstracting them, confessed the amount 
which she had taken, and told also how much she 
had saved by her own careful attention. His despair 
was now changed into joy ; and the result was, that he 
abandoned to his wife all the duty of receiving and 
paying away money for the future. His business was 
carried on even more prosperously than before; al- 
though, from the day of which we have spoken, not a 
farthing ever passed through his hands. His wife dis- 
charged the duty of banker with extraordinary credit 
to herself ; no false money was ever taken ; and the 
establishment of her complete authority in the house 
was the natural and just consequence of her activity 
and care; and, after the lapse of ten years, she and 
her husband were in a condition to purchase the hotel 
for themselves. 

Sinclair. — And so all this truth, love, and fidelity 
ended in the wife becoming the veritable mistress. I 
should like to know how far the opinion is just that 
women have a tendency to acquire authority. 

Amelia. — There it is again. Censure, you observe, 
is sure to follow in the wake of praise. 

Armidoro. — Favour us with your sentiments on 
this subject, good Eulalia. I think I have observed in 



THE GOOD WOMEN 481 

your writings no disposition to defend your sex against 
this imputation. 

Eulalia. — In as far as it is an imputation, I should 
wish it were removed by the conduct of our sex. But, 
where we have a right to authority, we can need no 
excuse. We like authority, because we are human. 
For what else is authority, in the sense in which we 
use it, than a desire for independence, and the enjoy- 
ment of existence as much as possible? This is a 
privilege all men seek with determination; but our 
ambition appears, perhaps, more objectionable, because 
nature, usage, and social regulations place restraints 
upon our sex, whilst they enlarge the authority of 
men. What men possess naturally, we have to ac- 
quire; and property obtained by a laborious struggle 
will always be more obstinately held than that which 
is inherited. 

Seyton. — But women, as # I think, have no reason 
to complain on that score. As the world goes, they 
inherit as much as men, if not more ; and in my opin- 
ion it is a much more difficult task to become a perfect 
man than a perfect woman. The phrase, " He shall be 
thy master/' is a formula characteristic of a barbarous 
age long since passed away. Men cannot claim a right 
to become educated and refined, without conceding the 
same privilege to women. As long as the process con- 
tinues, the balance is even between them; but, as 
women are more capable of improvement than men, ex- 
perience shows that the scale soon turns in their favour. 

Armidoro. — There is no doubt, that, in all civilised 
nations, women in general are superior to men ; for, 
where the two sexes exert a mutual influence on each 
other, a man cannot but become more womanly, and 
that is a disadvantage ; but, when a woman takes after 
a man, she is a gainer ; for, if she can improve her own 
peculiar qualities by the addition of masculine energy, 
she becomes an almost perfect being. 



482 THE GOOD WOMEN 

Seyton. — I have never considered the subject so 
deeply. But I think it is generally admitted that 
women do rule, and must continue to do so ; and 
therefore, whenever I become acquainted with a 
young lady, I always inquire upon what subjects she 
exercises her authority; since it must be exercised 
somewhere. 

Amelia. — And thus you establish the point with 
which you started ? 

Seyton. — And why not ? Is not my reasoning as 
good as that of philosophers in general, who are con- 
vinced by their experience ? Active women, who are 
given to habits of acquisition and saving, are invariably 
mistresses at home; pretty women, at once graceful 
and superficial, rule in large societies; whilst those 
who possess more sound accomplishments exert their 
influence in smaller circles. 

Amelia. — And thus we are divided into three 
classes. 

Sinclair. — All honourable, in my opinion ; and yet 
those three classes do not include the whole sex. There 
is still a fourth, to which perhaps we had better not 
allude, that we may escape the charge of converting 
our praise into censure. 

Henrietta. — Then, we must guess the fourth class. 
Let us see. 

Sinclair. — Well, then, the first three classes were 
those whose activity was displayed at home, in large 
societies, or in smaller circles. 

Henrietta. — What other sphere can there be where 
we can exercise our activity ? 

Sinclair. — There may be many. But I am think- 
ing of the reverse of activity. 

Henrietta. — Indolence ! How could an indolent 
woman rule ? 

Sinclair. — Why not ? 

Henrietta. — In what manner ? 



THE GOOD WOMEN 483 

Sinclair. — By opposition. Whoever adopts such a 
course, either from character or principle, acquires more 
authority than one would readily think. 

Amelia. — I fear we are about to fall into the tone 
of censure so general to men. 

Henrietta. — Do not interrupt him, Amelia. Noth- 
ing can be more harmless than these mere opinions; 
and we are the gainers, by learning what other persons 
think of us. Now, then, for the fourth class: what 
about it ? 

Sinclair. — I think I may speak unreservedly. The 
class I allude to does not exist in our country, and 
does not exist in France ; because the fair sex, both 
among us and our gallant neighbours, enjoys a proper 
degree of freedom. But in countries where women are 
under restraint, and debarred from sharing in public 
amusements, the class I speak of is numerous. In a 
neighbouring country, there is a peculiar name by which 
ladies of this class are invariably designated. 

Henrietta. — You must tell us the name: we can 
never guess names. 

Sinclair. — Well, I must tell you, they are called 
roguish. 

Henrietta. — A strange appellation. 

Sinclair. — Some time ago you took great interest in 
reading the speculations of Lavater upon physiognomy : 
do you remember nothing about roguish countenances 
in his book ? 

Henrietta. — It is possible, but it made no impression 
upon me. I may, perhaps, have construed the word in 
its ordinary sense, and read on without noticing it. 

Sinclair. — It is true that the word " roguish," in its 
ordinary sense, is usually applied to a person, who, with 
malicious levity, turns another into ridicule ; but, in its 
present sense, it is meant to describe a young lady, who, 
by her indifference, coldness, and reserve — qualities 
which attach to her as a disease — destroys the happi- 



Amelia rose from her 
Henrietta. — That se€ 
Sinclair. — I thought 
note of the symptoms, w 
half moral and half pi 
which I entitled, "Cha 
meant it to form a,portio 
pological observations, I 
Henrietta. — But you 
know any interesting anec 
ing of the word « rogue," 
intended collection of nos 
Sinclair. — This may I 
have failed in the object 
I was anxious to find som< 
to undertake an explana 
recommend some talented 
place of which, the engr. 
nounced worthless, and I i 
having attained my purpos 
notes of our conversation a 
should almost possess an e< 
Armidoro. — (Coming fi 
had frequently retired.) " 
I know the motive of on 
work. I have taken down 
tion upon this paper. I wi 
if Eulalia will kindly pron 
that spirit of charming ani 



THE GOOD WOMEN 



485 



the graceful tone of the work, and perhaps also its 
contents, will in some measure expiate the offence of 
the artist for his ungallant attack. 

Henrietta. — I cannot blame your officious friend- 
ship, Armidoro : but I wish you had not taken notes 
of our conversation ; it is setting a bad example. Our 
intercourse has been quite free and unrestrained ; and 
nothing can be worse than that our unguarded conver- 
sation should be overheard and written down, perhaps 
even printed for the amusement of the public. 

But Henrietta's scruples were silenced by a promise 
that nothing should meet the public eye except the 
little anecdotes which had been related. 

Eulalia, however, could not be persuaded to edit the 
notes of the shorthand writer. She had no wish to 
withdraw her attention from the fairy-tale with which 
she was then occupied. The notes remained in posses- 
sion of the gentlemen of the party, who, with the aid 
of their own memories, generously afforded their assist- 
ance, that they might thereby contribute to the general 
edification of all " good women." 



iii 



A Tale 



A Tale 



The thick fog of an early autumnal morning ob- 
scured the extensive courts which surrounded the 
prince's castle ; but through the mists, which gradually 
dispersed, a stranger might observe a cavalcade of 
huntsmen, consisting of horse and foot, already en- 
gaged in their early preparations for the field. The 
active employments of the domestics were already 
discernible. These latter were engaged in lengthen- 
ing and shortening stirrup-leathers, preparing the rifles 
and ammunition, and arranging the game-bags ; whilst 
the dogs, impatient of restraint, threatened to break 
away from the slips by which they were held. Then 
the horses became restive, from their own high mettle, 
or excited by the spur of the rider, who could not 
resist the temptation to make a vain display of his 
prowess, even in the obscurity by which he was sur- 
rounded. The cavalcade awaited the arrival of the 
prince, who was delayed too long while taking leave 
of his young wife. 

Lately married, they thoroughly appreciated the 
happiness of their own congenial dispositions: both 
were lively and animated, and each shared with de- 
light the pleasures and pursuits of the other. The 
prince's father had lived long enough to enjoy that 
period of life when one learns that all the members 
of a state should spend their time in diligent employ- 

489 



49<> A TALE 

ments, and that every one should engage in some ener- 
getic occupation corresponding with his taste, and 
should by this means first acquire, and then enjoy, 
the fruits of his labour. 

How far these maxims had proved successful might 
have been observed on this very day; for it was the 
anniversary of the great market in the town, a festival 
which might indeed be considered a species of fair. 
The prince had, on the previous day, conducted his 
wife on horseback through the busy scene, and had 
caused her to observe what a convenient exchange 
was carried on between the productions of the moun- 
tainous districts and those of the plain ; and he took 
occasion then and there to direct her attention to the 
industrious character of his subjects. 

But whilst the prince was entertaining himself and 
his courtiers almost exclusively with subjects of this 
nature, and was perpetually employed with his finance 
minister, his chief huntsman did not lose sight of his 
duty : and, upon his representation, it was impossible, 
during these favourable autumnal days, any longer to 
postpone the amusement of the chase ; as the promised 
meeting had already been several times deferred, not 
only to his own mortification, but to that of many 
strangers who had arrived to take part in the sport 

The princess remained, reluctantly, at home. It had 
been determined to hunt over the distant mountains, 
and to disturb the peaceful inhabitants of the forests 
in those districts by an unexpected declaration of 
hostilities. 

Upon taking his departure, the prince recommended 
his wife to seek amusement in equestrian exercise, 
under the conduct of her uncle Frederick. " And I 
commend you, moreover," he said, " to the care of our 
trusty Honorio, who will act as your esquire, and pay 
you every attention ; " and saying this as he descended 
the stairs, and gave the needful instructions to a 



A TALE 491 

comely youth, the prince quickly disappeared amid 
the crowd of assembled guests and followers. 

The princess, who had continued waving her hand- 
kerchief to her husband as long as he remained in 
the courtyard, now retired to an apartment at the 
back of the castle, which showed an extensive prospect 
over the mountain; as the castle itself was situated 
on the brow of the hill, from which a view at once 
distant and varied opened in all directions. She found 
the telescope in the spot where it had been left on the 
previous evening, when they had amused themselves 
in surveying the landscape, and the extent of moun- 
tain and forest amid which the lofty ruins of their 
ancestral castle were situated. It was a noble relic 
of ancient times, and shone out gloriously in the even- 
ing illumination. A grand but somewhat inadequate 
idea of its importance was conveyed by the large 
masses of light and shadow which now fell on it. 
Moreover, by the aid of the telescope, the autumnal 
foliage was seen to lend an indescribable charm to 
the prospect, as it waved upon trees which had grown 
up amid the ruins, undisturbed, for a great many 
years. But the princess soon turned the telescope 
in the direction of a dry and sandy plain beneath her, 
across which the hunting cavalcade was expected to 
bend its course. She patiently surveyed the spot, and 
was at length rewarded, as the clear magnifying power 
of the instrument enabled her delighted eyes to recog- 
nise the prince and his chief equerry. Upon this she 
once more waved her handkerchief as she observed, 
or, rather, fancied she observed, a momentary pause 
in the advance of the procession. 

Her uncle Frederick was now announced ; and he 
entered the apartment, accompanied by an artist, bear- 
ing a large portfolio under his arm. 

"Dear cousin," observed the vigorous old man, ad- 
dressing her, " we have brought some sketches of the 



49» A TALB 

ancestral castle far jour inspection, to show how the old 
walls and battlements were calculated to affoid defence 
and protection daring stormy seasons in years long 
passed ; though they have tottered in some places, and 
in others have covered the plain with their ruins. Oar 
efforts have been unceasing to render the place accessi- 
ble, since few spots offer more beauty or sublimity to 
the eye of the astonished traveller.* 

The prince continued, as he opened the portfolio 
containing the different views, "Here, as you ascend 
the hollow way, through the outer fortifications, you 
meet the principal tower; and a rock forbids all 
farther progress. It is the firmest of the mountain 
range. A castle has been erected upon it> so con- 
structed that it is difficult to say where the work of 
nature ceases and that of art begins. At a little dis- 
tance side walls and buttresses have been raised, the 
whole forming a sort of terrace. The height is sur- 
rounded by a wood. For upwards of a century and 
a half no sound of an axe has been heard within these 
precincts, and giant trunks of trees appear on all sides. 
Close to the very walls spring the glossy maple, the 
rough oak, and the tall pine. They oppose our prog- 
ress with their boughs and roots, and compel us to 
make a circuit to secure our advance. See how 
admirably our artist has sketched all this upon paper ; 
how accurately he has represented the trees as they 
become entwined amid the masonry of the castle, 
and thrust their boughs through the opening in the 
walls. It is a solitude which possesses the indescriba- 
ble charm of displaying the traces of human power, 
long since passed away, contending with perpetual and 
still reviving nature." 

Opening a second picture, he continued his discourse. 
"What say you to this representation of the castle 
court, which has been rendered impassable for count- 
less years by the falling of the principal tower ? We 



A TALE 493 

endeavoured to approach it from the side, and, in 
order to form a convenient private road, were compelled 
to blow up the old walls and vaults with gunpowder. 
But there was no necessity for similar operations 
within the castle walls. Here is a flat, rocky sur- 
face which has been levelled by the hand of nature, 
through which, however, mighty trees have here and 
there been able to strike their roots. They have 
thriven well, and thrust their branches into the very 
galleries where the knights of old were wont to exer- 
cise, and have forced their way through doors and 
windows into vaulted halls, from which they are not 
likely now to be expelled, and whence we, at least, 
shall not remove them. They have become lords of 
the territory, and may remain so. Concealed beneath 
heaps of dried leaves, we found a perfectly level floor, 
which probably cannot be equalled in the world. 

" In ascending the steps which lead to the chief 
tower, it is remarkable to observe, in addition to all 
we have mentioned above, how a maple-tree has taken 
root on high, and grown to a great size; so that, in 
ascending to the highest turret to enjoy the prospect, 
it is difficult to pass. And here you may refresh 
yourself beneath the shade ; for, even at this elevation, 
the tree of which we speak throws its shadows over 
all around. 

" We feel much indebted to the talented artist, who, 
in the course of several views, has brought thus the 
whole scenery as completely before us as if we had 
actually witnessed the original scene. He selected 
the most beautiful hours of the day, and the most 
favourable season of the year, for his task, to which 
he devoted many weeks. A small dwelling was 
erected for him and his assistant in the corner of 
the castle : you can scarcely imagine what a splendid 
view of the country, court, and ruins he there enjoyed. 
We intend these pictures to adorn our country-house ; 



, ~<mf*vsO0<3VA a VV1HL1 

examine personally the s 
described. "Ever since 
"this excursion has beei 
delighted to accomplish ^ 
impracticable, and what 
difficult." 

"Not yet, my dear," 
pictures only portray wl 
but many difficulties imp 
work." 

"But let us ride a littl 
rejoined, "if only to the 
have a great desire to-d 
prospect" 

"Your desire shall b« 
prince. 

"But we will first dire 
town," continued the lady 
place, where a countless n 
appearance of a small towi 
seems as if all the wants 
family in the country were 
plied in this one spot; for 
here behold whatever mai 
You would suppose that n 
sary, and that business of < 
on by means of barter; an 



A TALE 495 

Since the prince directed my attention to this view 
yesterday, I have felt pleasure in observing the manner 
in which the inhabitants of the mountain and of the 
valley mutually comprehend each other, and how both 
so plainly speak their wants and their wishes in this 
place. The mountaineer, for example, has cut the 
timber of his forests into a thousand forms, and ap- 
plied his iron to multifarious uses ; while the inhabit- 
ant of the valley meets him with his various wares 
and merchandise, the very materials and object of 
which it is difficult to know or conjecture." 

"I am aware," observed the prince, "that my 
nephew devotes his attention wholly to these subjects, 
for at this particular season of the year he receives 
more than he expends ; and this, after all, is the object 
and end of every national financier, and, indeed, of the 
pettiest household economist. But excuse me, my 
dear, I never ride with any pleasure through the 
market or the fair; obstacles impede one at every 
step: and my imagination continually recurs to that 
dreadful calamity which happened before my own 
eyes, when I witnessed the conflagration of as large 
a collection of merchandise as is accumulated here. 
I had scarcely — " 

" Let us not lose our time," said the princess, inter- 
rupting him, as her worthy uncle had more than once 
tortured her with a literal account of the very same 
misfortune. It had happened when he was upon a 
journey, and had retired, fatigued, to bed, in the best 
hotel of the town, which was situated in the market- 
place. It was the season of the fair, and in the dead 
of the night he was awoke by screams and by the 
columns of fire which approached the hotel. 

The princess hastened to mount her favourite palfrey, 
and led the way for her unwilling companion, when 
she rode through the front gate down the hill, in place 
of passing through the back gate up the mountain. 



t*c*i, - tor n 

And, in truth, the cro 

a manner that they co 

at a very alow pace, j 

beholding the young j 

faction of many a sin 

of the people at finding 

was at once the most 1< 

Promiscuously ming] 

taineers who inhabited 

rocks and towering p 

plains and meadows, 

neighbouring small t*r 

the motley crowd, the 

panion, that all the pi 

delight in using more 

was necessary, whethei 

ribbon, or trimming. 

both men and women, i 

if they looked puffed c 

a We must leave tha 

swered the uncla «Ev 

superfluity as he please* 

it in mere ornament." 

The princess nodded h 

They had now arrived 

led to one of the subu 

number of small booths 



A TALE 497 

wooden building whence a most discordant howling 
issued. It was the feeding-hour of the wild animals 
which wereHhere enclosed for exhibition. The lion 
roared with that fearful voice with which he was 
accustomed to terrify both woods and wastes. The 
horses trembled, and no one could avoid observing 
how the monarch of the desert made himself terrible 
in the tranquil circles of civilised life. Approaching 
nearer, they remarked the tawdry, colossal pictures on 
which the beasts were painted in the brightest colours, 
intended to afford irresistible temptation to the busy 
citizen. The grim and fearful tiger was in the act 
of springing upon a negro to tear him to pieces. The 
lion stood in solemn majesty, as if he saw no worthy 
prey before him. Other wonderful creatures in the 
same group presented inferior attractions. 

"Upon our return," said the princess, "we will 
alight, and take a nearer inspection of these rare crea- 
tures." 

" Is it not extraordinary," replied the prince, * that 
man takes pleasure in fearful excitements ? The tiger, 
for instance, is lying quietly enough within his cage ; 
and yet here the brute must be painted in the act of 
springing fiercely on a negro, in order that the public 
may believe that the same scene is to be witnessed 
within. Do not murder and death, fire and desolation, 
sufficiently abound, but that every mountebank must 
repeat such horrors? The worthy people like to be 
alarmed, that they may afterward enjoy the delightful 
sensation of freedom and security." 

But whatever feelings of terror such frightful repre- 
sentations might have inspired, they disappeared when 
they reached the gate and surveyed the cheerful pros- 
pects around. The road led down to a river, a narrow 
brook in truth, and only calculated to bear light skiffs, 
but destined afterward, when swelled into a wider 
stream, to take another name, and to water distant 



welcome. They then b 
more open spot, which 
they reached after a s 
obtained a distant view 
their pilgrimage, which 
and assumed the appei 
Behind them (for no one 
out turning to look ro 
sional openings in the lc 
the left, illuminated by 
portion of the town, obs 
and, on the right hand, 
the river flowed in man 
and its mills ; whilst stn 
extended in a wide, prod 
After they had satisfiec 
or rather, as is often the 
view from an eminence, 
ous of a wider and less 
rode slowly along a broac 
saw the mighty ruin stan 
whilst its base was clad 
and proceeding onward t 
and most impassable sid 
fended by enormous rock 
proof against the ravages 
in the earth, and towered 
had fallen, and lay in 



A TALE 499 

massed, and seemed to act as an insurmountable bar- 
rier, the mere attempt to overcome which is a delight 
to youth : as supple limbs ever find it a pleasure to under- 
take, to combat, and to conquer. The princess seemed 
disposed to make the attempt ; Honorio was at hand ; 
her princely uncle assented, unwilling to acknowledge 
his want of agility. The horses were directed to wait 
for them under the trees; and it was intended they 
should make for a certain point where a large rock had 
been rendered smooth, and from which a prospect was 
beheld, which, though of the nature of a bird's-eye 
view, was sufficiently picturesque. 

It was mid-day: the sun had attained its highest 
altitude, and shed its clearest rays around ; the princely 
castle, in all its parts, battlements, wings, cupolas, and 
towers, presented a glorious appearance. The upper 
part of the town was seen in its full extent : the eye 
could even penetrate into parts of the lower town, and, 
with the assistance of the telescope, distinguish the 
market-place, and even the very booths. It was Hono- 
rio's invariable custom to sling this indispensable in- 
strument to his side. They took a view of the river 
in its course and its descent, and of the sloping plain, 
and of the luxuriant country with its gentle undulations, 
and then of the numerous villages, for it had been from 
time immemorial a subject of contention, how many 
could be counted from this spot. 

Over the wide plain there reigned a calm stillness, 
such as is accustomed to rule at mid-day, — an hour 
when, according to classical phraseology, the god Pan 
sleeps, and all nature is breathless, that his repose may 
be undisturbed. 

" It is not the first time," observed the princess, " that, 
standing upon an eminence which presents a wide- 
extended view, I have thought how pure and peaceful 
is the look of holy Nature ; and the impression comes 
upon me, that the world beneath must be free from 



daylight eclipsed the 
they exclaimed, still lc 
The princess saw the 
from time to time they 
amid the smoke. Her 
us return : it is calamit 
recurrence of such a mi 

They descended ; an 
the princess thus addr 
forward, sir, hastily, ^ 
Honorio with me, and y 

Her uncle perceived t 
advice, and, riding on a* 
ground would allow, c 
The princess mounted 1 
addressed her thus: "I 
slowly; the fire-engines 
the town and in the c 
mistake or error, even ir 
Here, however, the wa; 
insecure, from the small 
and, in addition, the fire 
before we reach the towi 

But the princess indul 
the smoke ascend, and tt 
lightning and heard a thi 
filled with the frightful 
her uncle's oft-repeated n 



A TALE 501 

That calamity had indeed been dreadful, sudden, and 
impressive enough to make one apprehensive for the 
repetition of a like misfortune. At midnight a fear- 
ful fire had broken out in the market-place, which was 
filled with booths and stalls, before the occupants of 
those temporary habitations had been roused from 
their profound dreams. The prince himself, after a 
weary day's journey, had retired to rest, but, rushing 
to the window, perceived with dismay the flames which 
raged around on every side, and approached the spot 
where he stood. The houses of the market-place, crim- 
soned with the reflection, appeared already to burn, 
and threatened every instant to burst out into a general 
conflagration. The fierce element raged irresistibly; 
the beams and rafters crackled ; whilst countless pieces 
of consumed linen flew aloft, and the burnt and shape- 
less rags sported in the air and looked like foul demons 
revelling in their congenial element. With loud cries 
of distress, each individual endeavoured to rescue what 
he could from the flames. Servants and assistants vied 
with their masters in their efforts to save the huge 
bales of goods already half consumed, to tear what 
still remained uninjured from the burning stalls, and 
to pack it away in chests; although they were even 
then compelled to abandon their labours, and leave the 
whole to fall a prey to the conflagration. How many 
wished that the raging blaze would allow but a single 
moment's respite, and, pausing to consider the possi- 
bility of such a mercy, fell victims to their brief hesi- 
tation. Many buildings burned on one side, while 
the other side lay in obscure darkness. A few deter- 
mined, self-willed characters bent themselves obsti- 
nately to the task of saving something from the flames, 
and suffered for their heroism. The whole scene of 
misery and devastation was renewed in the mind of 
the beautiful princess: her countenance was clouded, 
which had beamed so radiantly in the early morning ; 



So* 



A TALE 







her eyes had lost their lustre ; and even the beaut; 
woods and meadows around now looked sad and 
mournful 

Riding onward, she entered the sweet valley, but 
felt uncovered by the refreshing coolness of the place, 
She had, however, not advanced far> before she ob- 
served an unusual appearance in the copse near the 
meadow where the sparkling brook which flowed 
through the adjacent country took its rise. She at 
once recognised a tiger crouched in the attitude to 
spring, as she had seen him represented in the painting. 
The impression was fearful m Flee i gracious lady " 
cried Honorio, "flee at once!" She turned her horse 
to mount the steep hill she had just descended : but 
her young attendant drew his pistol, and, approaching 
the monster, fired ; unfortunately he missed his mark, 
the tiger leaped aside, the horse started, and the terri- 
fied beast pursued his course and followed the princess. 
The latter urged her horse up the steep, stony acclivity, 
forgetting for a moment that the pampered animal she 
rode was unused to such exertions ; but, urged by his 
impetuous rider, the spirited steed made a new effort, 
till at length, stumbling at an inequality of the ground, 
after many attempts to recover his footing, he fell ex- 
hausted to the ground. The princess released herself 
from the saddle with great expertness and presence of 
mind, and brought her horse again to its feet The 
tiger was in pursuit at a slow pace. The uneven 
ground and sharp stones appeared to retard his prog- 
ress; though, as Honorio approached, his speed and 
strength seemed to be renewed They now came 
nearer to the spot where the princess stood by her 
horse ; and Honorio, bending down, discharged a second 
pistol. This time he was successful, and shot the mon- 
ster through the head The animal fell, and, as lie lay 
stretched upon the ground at full length, gave evidence 
of that might and terror which was now reduced to a 



A TALE 503 

lifeless form. Honorio had leaped from his horse, and 
was now kneeling on the body of the huge brute. He 
had already put an end to his struggles with the hunt- 
ing-knife which gleamed within his grasp. He looked 
even more handsome and active than the princess had 
ever seen him in list or tournament. Thus had he 
oftentimes driven his bullet through the head of the 
Turk in the riding-school, piercing his forehead under 
the turban, and, carried onward by his rapid courser, 
had oftentimes struck the Moor's head to the ground 
with his shining sabre. In all such knightly feats he 
was dexterous and successful, and here he had found 
an opportunity for putting his skill to the test. 

" Despatch him quickly," said the princess, faintly : 
u I fear he may injure you with his claws." 

" There is no danger," answered the youth ; " he is 
dead enough : and I do not wish to spoil his skin, — 
it shall ornament your sledge next winter." 

« Do not jest at such a time," continued the prin- 
cess: "such a moment calls forth every feeling of 
devotion that can fill the heart." 

"And I never felt more devout than now," added 
Honorio, " and therefore are my thoughts cheerful : I 
only consider how this creature's skin may serve your 
pleasure." 

"It would too often remind me of this dreadful 
moment," she replied. 

* And yet," answered the youth, with burning cheek, 
"this triumph is more innocent than that in which 
the arms of the defeated are borne in proud procession 
before the conqueror." 

"I shall never forget your courage and skill," re- 
joined the princess ; " and let me add that you may, 
during your whole life, command the gratitude and 
favour of the prince. But rise, — the monster is dead : 
rise, I say ; and let us think what next is to be done." 

" Since I find myself now kneeling before you," re- 



«P«t eon&ieiice who 

mast instruct oanefas 

"Riser- repeated th. 

«nt to desire or request 

o* my husband; but, i 

yonr detention hoe ha 

«»• the wish of your pn 

*w would ripen, and pn 

noMeman, who might at 

™, «n»agn as great 

hitherto been the case he 

*"■* 7«» present deed o 

a passport as any youth 

the world." 7 

The princess had scar 

*?* rf m> expression of 

gnef now darkened his 

scarcely display his em 

preached, climbing the m 

j» boy by the hand. Hoi 

kneeling posture, and sec 

we woman advanced wit 

diatelyflnng herself upon 

Her conduct, no less tha 

attire, bore evidence that 

tendant of the animaL 1 

accompanied, was remark* 

and jet-black hair. He car 



A TALE 505 

joined his tears to those of his mother ; whilst, with a 
more calm but deep-felt sorrow than she displayed, he 
knelt quietly at her side. 

The violent expression of this wretched woman's 
grief was succeeded by a torrent of expostulations, 
which rushed from her in broken sentences, reminding 
one of a mountain stream whose course is interrupted 
by impeding rocks. Her natural expressions, short and 
abrupt, were forcible and pathetic : vain would be the 
endeavour to translate them into our idiom; we must 
be satisfied with their general meaning. " They have 
murdered thee, poor animal, murdered thee without 
cause ! Tamely thou wouldst have lain down to await 
our arrival ; for thy feet pained thee, and thy claws 
were powerless. Thou didst lack thy burning native 
sun to bring thee to maturity. Thou wert the most 
beautiful animal of thy kind ! Whoever beheld a more 
noble royal tiger stretched out to sleep, than thou art 
as thou liest here, never to rise again ? When in the 
morning thou awokest at the earliest dawn of day, 
opening thy wide jaws, and stretching out thy ruddy 
tongue, thou seemedst to us to smile ; and even when 
a growl burst from thee, still didst thou ever playfully 
take thy food from the hand of a woman, or from the 
fingers of a child. Long did we accompany thee in 
thy travels, and long was thy society to us as indispen- 
sable as profitable. To us, in very truth, did food come 
from the ravenous, and sweet refreshment from the 
strong. But alas, alas ! this can never be again ! " 

She had not quite ended her lamentations, when a 
troop of horsemen was observed riding in a body over 
the heights which led from the castle. They were soon 
recognised as the hunting cavalcade of the prince, and 
he himself was at their head. Riding amongst the dis- 
tant hills, they had observed the dark columns of 
smoke which obscured the atmosphere; and pushing 
on over hill and dale, as if in the heat of the chase, 



506 A TALB 

they had followed the comae indicated by the smoke, 
which served them as a guide. Bushing forward, 
regardless of every obstacle, they had come by sur- 
prise upon the astonished group, who presented a 
remarkable appearance in the opening of the hills. 
Their mutual recognition produced a general surprise; 
and, after a short pause, a few words of explanation 
cleared up the apparent mystery. The prince heard 
with astonishment the extraordinary occurrence, as he 
stood surrounded by the crowd of attendants on foot 
and on horseback. There seemed no doubt about the 
necessary course. Orders and commands were at once 
issued by the prince. 

A stranger now forced his way forward, and appeared 
within the circle. He was taU in figure, and attired as 
gaudily as the woman and her child. The members of 
the family recognised each other with mutual surprise 
and pain. But the man, collecting himself, stood at a 
respectful distance from the prince, and addressed him 
thus: 

" This is not a moment for complaining. My lord 
and mighty master, the lion has also escaped, and is 
concealed somewhere here in the mountain ; but spare 
him, I implore you! have mercy upon him, that he 
may not perish like this poor animal ! " 

" The lion escaped ! " exclaimed the prince. " Have 
you found his track ? n 

" Yes, sir. A peasant in the valley, who needlessly 
took refuge in a tree, pointed to the direction he had 
taken, — this is the way, to the left ; but, perceiving a 
crowd of men and horses before me, I became curious 
to know the occasion of their assembling, and hastened 
forward to obtain help." 

" Well," said the prince, " the chase must begin in 
this direction. Load your rifles, go deliberately to 
work : no misfortune can happen, if you but drive him 
into the thick woods below us. But in truth, worthy 



A TALE 507 

man, we can scarcely spare your favourite : why were 
you negligent enough to let him escape ? " 

"The fire broke out," replied the other, "and we 
remained quiet and prepared : it quickly spread round, 
but raged at a distance from us. We were provided 
with water in abundance; but suddenly an explosion 
of gunpowder took place, and the conflagration imme- 
diately extended to us and beyond us. We were too 
precipitate, and are now reduced to ruin." 

The prince was still engaged in issuing his orders, 
and there was general silence for a moment, when a 
man was observed flying, rather than running, down 
from the castle. He was quickly recognised as the 
watchman of the artist's studio, whose business it was 
to occupy the dwelling and look after the workmen. 
Breathless he advanced, and a few words served to 
announce the nature of his business. 

" The Hon had taken refuge on the heights, and had 
lain down in the sunshine behind the lofty walls of the 
castle. He was reposing at the foot of an old tree in 
perfect tranquillity. But," continued the man in a 
tone of bitter complaint, "unfortunately, I took my 
rifle to the town yesterday, to have it repaired, or the 
animal had never risen again : his skin, at least, would 
have been mine ; and I had worn it in triumph all my 
life." 

The prince, whose military experience had often 
served him in time of need, — for he had frequently 
been in situations where unavoidable danger pressed 
' on every side, — observed, in reply to the man, " What 
pledge can you give, that, if we spare your Hon, he will 
do no mischief in the country ? " 

"My wife and child," answered the father hastily, 
" will quiet him and lead him peacefully along, until I 
repair his shattered cage ; and then we shall keep him 
harmless and uninjured." 

The child seemed to be looking for his flute. It was 



Soft A X*UL 

that species of instrument whkh is sometimes called 
the soft, sweet flute, short in the moothpaeoe, like a 
pipe. Those who understood the art of using it could 
dimw from it the moat delicious tone* 

In the meantime, the prince inquired of the keeper 
by which path the Hon had ascended the mountain. 

"Through the low toad," replied the latter: "it ia 
walled in on both sides, has long hem the only pas- 
sage, and shall continue sa Two foot-paths originally 
led to the same point; hot we d es troye d them, that 
there might remain but one way to that castle of en- 
chantment and beauty which ia to be formed by the 
taste and talent of Prince Frederick." 

After a thoughtful pause, during whkh the prince 
etood contemplating the child, who continued playing 
softly on his flut% the former turned toward Honorio, 
and said: 

« Thou hast this day performed a great deal: finish 
the task you have begun. Occupy the narrow road of 
which we have heard; hold your rifle ready, but do 
not shoot if you think it likely that the lion may be 
driven back; but, under any circumstances, kindle a 
fire, that he may be afraid to descend in this direction. 
The man and his wife must answer for the conse- 
quences." 

Honorio proceeded without delay to execute the 
orders he had received. 

The child went on with his time, which was not 
exactly a melody : but a mere succession of notes fol- 
lowed, without any precise order or artistic arrange- 
ment; yet, perhaps for this very reason, the effect 
seemed replete with enchantment. Every one was de- 
lighted with the simple music; when the father, full 
of a noble enthusiasm, addressed the assembled spec- 
tators thus : 

"God has bestowed the gift of wisdom upon the 
prince, and the power of seeing that all divine works 



A TALE 509 

are good, each after its kind. Behold how the rocks 
stand firm and motionless, proof against the effects of 
sun and storm. Their summits are crowned with an- 
cient trees ; and, elated with the pride of their orna- 
ments, they look round boldly far and wide. But, 
should a part become detached, it no longer appears as 
before: it breaks into a thousand pieces, and covers 
the side of the declivity. But even there the pieces 
find no resting-place : they pursue their course down- 
ward, till the brook receives them, and carries them 
onward to the river. Thence, unresisting and submis- 
sive, their sharp angles having become rounded and 
smooth, they are borne along with greater velocity 
from stream to stream, till they finally attain the 
ocean, in whose mighty depths giants abide and 
dwarfs abound. 

" But who celebrates the praise 0/ the Lord, whom 
the stars praise from all eternity? Why, however, 
should we direct our vision so far ? Behold the bee, 
how he makes his provision in harvest-time, and con- 
structs a dwelling, correct in angle and level, at once 
the architect and workman. Behold the ant: she 
knows her way, and loses it not ; she builds her habi- 
tation of grass and earth and tiny twigs, builds it 
high, and strengthens it with arches, but in vain, — the 
prancing steed approaches, and treads it into nothing, 
destroying the little rafters and supports of the edifice. 
He snorts with impatience and with restlessness; for 
the Lord has formed the horse as companion to the 
wind, and brother to the storm, that he may carry 
mankind whither he will. But in the palm forest even 
he takes to flight. There, in the wilderness, the Hon 
roams in proud majesty : he is monarch of the beasts, 
and nothing can resist his strength. But man has 
subdued his valour : the mightiest of animals has re- 
spect for the image of God, in which the very angels 
are formed; and they minister to the Lord and his 



510 A TALE 

servants. Daniel trembled not in the lions' den : be 
stood full of faith and holy confidence, and the wild 
roaring of the monsters did not interrupt his pious 



This address, which was delivered with an expression 
of natural enthusiasm, was accompanied by the child's 
sweet music. But, when his father had concluded, the 
boy commenced to sing with clear and sonorous voice, 
and some degree of skill. His parent in the meantime 
seized his flute, and in soft notes accompanied the 
child as he sung: 

" Hear the prophet's song ascending 

From the cavern's dark retreat, 
Whilst an angel, earthward bending, 

Cheers his soul with accents sweet. 
Fear and terror come not o'er him, 

As the lion's angry brood 
Crouch with placid mien before him, 

By his holy song subdued." 

The father continued to accompany the verses with 
his flute, whilst the mother's voice was occasionally 
heard to intervene as second. 

The effect of the whole was rendered more peculiar 
and impressive by the child's frequently inverting the 
order of the verses. And if he did not, by this artifice, 
give a new sense and meaning to the whole, he at least 
highly excited the feelings of his audience : 

" Angels o'er us mildly bending 

Cheer us with their voices sweet. 
Hark ! what strains enchant the ear ! 

In the cavern's dark retreat 
Can the prophet quake with fear? 

Holy accents, sweetly blending, 
Banish ev'ry earthly ill, 

Whilst an angel choir, descending, 
Executes the heavenlv will." 



A TALE 511 

Then all three joined with force and emphasis : 

" Since the eternal Eye, far-seeing, 

Earth and sea surveys in peace, 
Lion shall with lamb agreeing 

Live, and angry tempests cease. 
Warriors' sword no more shall lower, 

Faith and Hope their fruit shall bear : 
Wondrous is the mighty power 

Of Love, which pours its soul in prayer." 

The music ceased. Silence reigned around. Each 
one listened attentively to the dying tones, and now 
only one could observe and note the general impres- 
sion. Every listener was overcome, though each was 
affected in a different manner. The prince looked 
sorrowfully at his wife, as though he had only just 
perceived the danger which had lately threatened him ; 
whilst she, leaning upon his arm, did not hesitate to 
draw forth her embroidered handkerchief to dry the 
starting tear. It was delightful to relieve her youth- 
ful heart from the weight of grief with which she had 
for some time felt oppressed. A general silence reigned 
around; and forgotten were the fears which all had 
experienced, both from the conflagration below and 
the appearance of the formidable lion above. 

The repose of the whole company was first inter- 
rupted by the prince, who made a signal to lead the 
horses nearer: he then turned to the woman, and 
addressed her thus : " You think, then, to master the 
lion wherever you meet him, by the power of your 
song, assisted by that of the child and the tones of 
your flute, and believe that you can thus lead him 
harmless and uninjured to his cage ? " 

She protested and assured him that she would do 
so, whereupon a servant was ordered to show her the 
way to the castle. The prince and a few of his attend- 
ants now took their departure hastily; whilst the 



"There is no necessit 
served the woman : u all , 

They perceived Honoi 
them, sitting upon a fra* 
doable-barrelled rifle in h 
for every emergency. Bu 
the people who approach 
own contemplations, and 
thought The woman ei 
permit the fire to be kinc 
the smallest attention to hi 
her voice, and exclaimed, u 
killed my tiger, I corse th 
and I will bless thee!" 

But Honorio was lookk 
were bent upon the son, wl 
course, and was now about 

" You are looking to the set 
" and you are right, for there 
ten, delay not, and you will 
conquer yourself He seen 
vation. The woman passec 
looking round to observe hii 
sun had cast a rosy glow t 
thought she had never behel 

"If your child," said th< 
imagine, with his fluting ai 
tranquillise the lion, we shal 
ing him; for the ferocious 



A TALE 513 

sleep under the broken arch, through which we have 
secured a passage into the castle court, as the chief 
entrance has been long in ruins. Let the child, then, 
entice him inside, when we can close the gate without 
difficulty ; and the child may, if he please, escape by a 
small winding staircase, which is situated in one of the 
corners. We may, in the meantime, conceal ourselves ; 
but I shall take up a position which will enable me to 
assist the child at any moment with my rifle." 

"These preparations are all needless: Heaven, and 
our own skill, bravery, and good fortune, are our best 
defence." 

" But first let me conduct you by this steep ascent 
to the top of the tower, right opposite to the entrance 
of which I have spoken. The child may then descend 
into the arena, and there he can try to exercise his 
power over the obedient animaL" 

This was done. Concealed above, the attendant and 
the mother surveyed the proceeding. The child de- 
scended the narrow staircase, and soon appeared in the 
wide courtyard. He immediately entered into the nar- 
row opening opposite, when the sweet sounds of his 
flute were heard ; but these gradually diminished, till 
they finally ceased. The pause was fearful : the solem- 
nity of the proceeding filled the old attendant with 
apprehension, accustomed as he was to every sort of 
danger. He declared that he would rather engage the 
enraged animal himself. But the mother preserved her 
cheerful countenance, and, leaning over the parapet in 
a listening attitude, betrayed not the slightest sign of 
fear. 

At length the flute was heard again. The child had 
issued from the dark recess, his face beaming with tri- 
umph : the lion was slowly following, and seemed to 
walk with difficulty. Now and then the animal ap- 
peared disposed to He down ; but the child continued 
to lead him quietly along, bending his way through 



514 A TALE 

the half-leafless autumn-tinged trees, until he arrived 
at a spot which was illumined by the last rays of the 
setting sun. They were shedding their parting glory 
through the ruins ; and in this spot he recommenced 
his sweet song, which we cannot refrain from repeating : 

" Hear the prophet's song ascending 

From the cavern's dark retreat, 
Whilst an angel, earthward bending, 

Cheers his soul with accents sweet. 
Fear and terror come not o'er him, 

As the lion's angry brood 
Crouch with placid mien before him, 

By his holy song subdued." 

The lion, in the meantime, had lain quietly down, 
and, raising his heavy paw, had placed it in the lap 
of the child. The latter stroked it gently, and con- 
tinued his chant, but soon observed that a sharp thorn 
had penetrated into the ball of the animal's foot. With 
great tenderness, the child extracted the thorn, and, 
taking his bright-coloured silk handkerchief from his 
neck, bound it round the foot of the huge creature; 
whilst the attentive mother, still joyfully leaning over 
the'«parapet with outstretched arms, would probably, as 
was her wont, have testified her approbation with loud 
shouts and clapping of hands, if the attendant had not 
rudely seized her, and reminded her that the danger 
was not yet completely over. 

The child now joyfully continued his song, after he 
had hummed a few notes by way of prelude : 

" Since the eternal Eye, far-seeing, 

Earth and sea surveys in peace, 
Lion shall with lamb agreeing 

Live, and angry tempests cease. 
Warriors' sword no more shall lower, 

Faith and Hope their fruit shall bear : 
Wondrous is the mighty power 

Of Love, which pours its soul in prayer." 



A TALE 



5*5 



If it were possible to conceive that the features of 
so fierce a monster, at once the tyrant of the forest 
and the despot of the animal kingdom, could display 
an expression of pleasure and grateful joy, it might 
have been witnessed upon this occasion ; and, in very 
truth, the child, in the fulness of his beauty, looked 
like some victorious conqueror; though it could not 
be said that the lion seemed subdued, for his mighty 
power was only for a time concealed. He wore the 
aspect of a tamed creature, who had been content to 
make a voluntary surrender of the mighty power with 
which it was endued. And thus the child continued 
to play and to sing, transposing his verses or adding to 
them, as he felt inclined. 

" Holy angels, still untiring, 

Aid the good and virtuous child, 
Every noble deed inspiring, 

And restraining actions wild. 
80 the forest king to render 

Tame as child at parent's knee, 
Still be gentle, kind, and tender, 

Use sweet love and melody." 



THE END. 




•n 




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